Benefit fraudsters lose out in court

Press Release: 08/03/2007

Three benefit fraud cases went to court last week after Winchester City Council's investigation team uncovered massive overpayments.

The cases were heard at Basingstoke Magistrates' Court on Tuesday 27 February. They included residents from Kingsworthy, Denmead and Winchester, who were overpaid almost £20,000 between them in work and tax credits, undeclared capital or undeclared work.

As well as having to pay back the full amount, they were given community punishment orders. Case details follow:-

- Mrs D, a single parent with two children, from Kingsworthy was overpaid £8,119.82 for failing to declare tax credits. She pleaded guilty and got a 120-hour community punishment order.

- Mr J, from Winchester, who is married with two children, was overpaid £5,665.54 after he failed to declare his wife was working and an increase in his earnings, and then failed to respond to requests for visits. He pleaded guilty and received a 150-hour community punishment order.

- Mrs F, 65, a single woman from Denmead was overpaid £5,599.06 after failing to declare capital over £16,000. She pleaded guilty, was given a 120-hour community punishment order and ordered to pay £350 towards costs.

Other recent cases include that of Ms S, a single parent with one child from Winchester, who in January pleaded guilty to failing to declare Job Seekers Allowance to the sum of £2,340.25. She pleaded guilty and was given a 150-hour of community punishment order and told to pay £50 towards costs.

Recent cases that were dealt with out of court include:
- Mr M, married with two children from Weeke, was overpaid £919.60 after failing to declare Job Seekers Allowance, and then failing to respond to requests for a visit. He accepted a fine.
- Ms B, a single parent with two children from Alresford, was overpaid £651.52 for failing to declare starting work. Enquiries were made after claimant rang in to cancel claim. He accepted a fine.
- Mrs W, married with two children from Winchester, was overpaid £2,675.02 after she failed to declare Job Seekers Allowance and her partner starting work. She accepted a formal caution
- Mr G, a single man aged 21 from Winchester, was overpaid £695.87 for failing to declare starting work and changing address. Enquires were made after mail returned 'gone away'. He accepted a formal caution.
- Mr T, a single man from Winchester was overpaid £502.06 for failing to declare JSA and failed to respond to request for visit. He accepted a formal caution.
- Mr M, a single man from Winchester, was overpaid £1,589.39 for failing to declare WTC for period. He accepted a formal caution.

Anyone who is worried that they might be receiving too much in benefits from Winchester City Council can call 01962 848 539 or if you want to report someone committing benefit fraud then call anonymously on 01962 848 306.