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8 Aug 2013

"Single" benefit thieves were living with partners

Trevor Waters pleaded guilty at Leamington Justice Centre to charges of fraudulently obtaining from Stratford District Council Housing Benefit of £27,269 and Council Tax Benefit of £5,375 over a four-year period as a result of failing to declare a change in circumstances which would have affected his benefit.

The 42-year-old failed to tell the council he was living with his then partner who was in full time work and whenever there had been an opportunity for Waters to advise the council of his true circumstances, he continued the deceit, which he also hid from his partner, until it was discovered by council Investigators. When interviewed and challenged, Waters at once admitted the allegation and co-operated with subsequent enquiries.

Waters was ordered to repay the council all the money falsely obtained and was also given an 18-month supervised community sentence.

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A benefit cheat stole more than £23,000 after failing to disclose she was living with her partner.

Michelle Jones, from Stapenhill, admitted two charges of dishonestly failing to notify the DWP of a change of circumstances between January 16, 2009, and July 10, 2012, and East Staffordshire Borough Council between May 4, 2009, and August 7, 2012.

She dishonestly claimed £16,366.44 in income support, £6,133.06 in housing benefit and £1,415.11 in council tax by not declaring she was living with her partner Christopher Marsden. She was claiming benefits on the basis she was a lone parent and would notify the authorities if there was any changes. However, Mr Marsden used the address with his bank, employment and for his vehicle insurance.

When interviewed under caution, Jones admitted she understood she was meant to declare any changes in her circumstances. She said the relationship had changed between the couple following the birth of their daughter. She accepted behaving dishonestly and apologised for her actions.

Michael Taylor, defending, said
I think concern for her four children led to the offences. She has started to pay it back.
Magistrates sentenced Jones to three months in prison for each offence, to run consecutively, which was suspended for 12 months. She was ordered to complete 180 hours unpaid work, the benefit fraud intervention programme for 60 days and a supervision order for 12 months with £85 court costs.

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