2 Jun 2013

Sentencing of benefit thieves

Samantha Perks, from Semington, failed to declare £20,000 when she applied for the benefit and received £3,847 between April 2009 and February 2012. Magistrates gave her a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered her to pay costs of £75.

Just go away and don't do it again.

Joanna Holstein, aged 23, posed as a single mum to con £7,400 from the taxpayer. Magistrates fined her £150 and ordered her to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £15. Nick Jefferies, Head of the South Worcestershire Revenues and Benefits Service, said: “We consider benefit fraud to be a serious matter".

Shame the magistrates don't agree with Nick that benefit fraud is serious.

A woman who faked documents to skip court has pleaded guilty to fraud after claiming almost £5,500 of housing benefits.

Julie Ottewell claimed housing benefits at her rented property on Main Street, Ravenshead. She missed nine court appearances and provided Nottingham Magistrates Court with a GP letter and medical certificate saying she was too ill to attend and was in hospital in Oxford during one of the hearings. Investigations found the documents to be fake and that she was working when she should have attended court.

Ottewell and husband David claimed Housing and Council Tax benefit without mentioning her job at The Friesland School, Sandiacre, where she had worked since 2004. Ottewell also claimed Income Support from the Department for Work and Pensions from June 2011. She appeared before Nottingham Magistrates on May 23, after handing herself in to police and pleaded guilty to two offences of benefit fraud. She will be sentenced on June 11, at either Nottingham Magistrates or Crown Court, and is currently on conditional bail.

Councillor John Clarke, Leader of Gedling Borough Council, said:
It is clear that not only has this person attempted to deceive the council but has the audacity to attempt to deceive the courts as well.

We expect the Courts to take the firmest possible action and deter anyone else who is thinking about making a false claim.
We all do - but there was no sign of the courts doing their public duty in the two cases above.

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