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26 Jun 2014

£94k benefit thief has to wear tag

Cindi Gould, aged 46, from Hadlow, has been sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment (suspended for two years), tagged as part of a four-month curfew order and is also subject to a two-year supervision order for committing benefit fraud.

Gould, who pleaded not guilty to benefit fraud, will have to wear a tag and remain at home between 8pm and 6am every day.

The court heard that Mrs Gould failed to notify Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that her partner was living with her. She originally claimed to be living without a partner and was claiming benefits as a lone parent.

Following an anonymous tip-off from the public, investigators from the council and the DWP began to look at her circumstances.

The investigators obtained evidence, which showed that her partner was linked to her address for the period from March 2004 to April 2012. As a result, Mrs Gould was overpaid a total of £94,357.39 in benefits.

Broken down, this amounts to £41,513.23 in housing benefit, £8,295.80 in council tax benefit, £36,320.60 in income support and £8,227.76 in employment and support allowance. Gould has to repay all of the money that she fraudulently claimed.

Martin Coffin, Tonbridge & Malling council’s cabinet member for finance said:
It’s very clear that Tonbridge and Malling residents will not tolerate benefit cheats in their communities – this is just the latest in a growing number of ‘tip-offs’ we have received from the public and we will continue to follow up every lead to ensure that people who defraud the benefit system are caught and brought to justice.

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