5 Mar 2014

Another Cornish benefit thief gets conditional discharge

Magistrates in Cornwall have yet again given a conditional discharge to a benefit thief, this time someone who stole over £24,786 from us.

Shirley Edwards, 52, from Lostwithiel pleaded guilty to offences of making false statements when claiming Housing and Council Tax Benefit in 2009.

It had been identified that when Mrs Edwards had made a claim for benefit in January 2009, she had failed to disclose on the benefit claim form, that she had an ISA containing capital in excess of the limits for receiving means tested benefits and also that she co-owned a property.

After taking into account the early guilty plea, magistrates sentenced Mrs Edwards to a three year conditional discharge.

Mrs Edwards was also ordered to pay the council’s investigation costs of £936.38 - but that actually was the sum total of her punishment. Cornwall Council may proclaim that it operates a ‘zero tolerance’ policy to fraud and corruption, but the magistrates are doing hardly anything to discourage this crime.

The £24,786.87 housing and council tax benefit overpaid as result of Mrs Edwards failing to declare her savings and property has been repaid in full.

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