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21 May 2014

Another council will name & shame benefit thieves

North Warwickshire Borough Council is sending out a clear message to benefit fraudsters that they will be brought to court and they will be named and shamed.

This is a small community and naming people makes a difference. It serves as a warning to others.

The council has a specialist team of investigators and we have committed significant resources to deterring, preventing and detecting Benefit Fraud. Wherever possible, we will recover the money that has been fraudulently claimed.

The council may prosecute in the courts, which could lead to a criminal conviction, fine or prison. Or we can impose an administrative penalty. This can mean getting back a financial penalty of 30 per cent more on top of the amount a person has fraudulently claimed. Or impose a Formal Caution, which is similar to a police caution.

Mr Eric Thompson, from Church Road, Dordon told the council and social security that he was unable to work but this was not the case. He began receiving benefits in 2009 and fraudulently claimed £10,216.39 in Housing and Council Tax Benefits from the council and £12,476.93 in other benefits. A total of £22,693.32. But meantime Mr Thompson had started working at Lynx Express from April 12 2010 and then for Flex Recruitment from April 22, 2012. He failed to tell the council about his earnings. Mr Thompson was interviewed under caution on April 4, 2013 when he admitted that he had acted dishonestly. He regretted his actions, which were driven by his personal circumstances at that time. He entered a guilty plea in court on March 5, 2014, was given a prison sentence of 12 months and he was ordered to pay back the overpayment together with court costs. The imprisonment was then suspended.

When he became unemployed in 2010, George Inglis, a 36-year-old man from Dukes Road, Dordon, claimed Jobseekers Allowance for himself, his family including his partner Kerrie Williams. Kerrie Williams also submitted a claim for Housing Benefit. But Mr Inglis failed to declare it when he secured a job with local firm TNT, and started work on August 25, 2012. The couple admitted they had failed to notify the council. They continued claiming benefits to which they knew they were not entitled. George Inglis was sentenced to a 12 month' Community Service Order and will have to undertake 60 hours unpaid work. Kerrie Williams also received a 12 month Community Order but will be required to undertake 80 hours work. They will also have to pay back £4,175.87 to the borough council and £4,240.60 to the DWP.

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