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30 Jun 2014

Councillor puts benefit & tax credit fraud at over £5bn - we agree

A Haverhill woman who falsely claimed £12,258 in benefits has received a suspended prison sentence.

Mandy Fair, 47, pleaded guilty at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates Court to continuing to claim both council tax benefit (£1,969) and employment and support allowance (£10,289) after her husband, who was in full-time work, moved back in with her.

Magistrates sentenced her to four weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months and gave her a 12 month community order with the requirement that she attend a seven session programme with the Women’s Emotional Wellbeing Specified Activity (WEWSA).

She was also ordered to pay £400 costs and £80 victim surcharge.

Cllr David Ray, St Edmundsbury Borough Council cabinet member for Resources and Performance said:
The council takes benefit theft very seriously. Deliberately withholding information that affects your claim is stealing. The vast majority of people who claim benefits are honest, but those who steal benefits are picking the pockets of law-abiding taxpayers and it is often part of organised crime. Benefit and tax credit thieves steal an estimated £5.3 billion from public funds, that’s why we are determined to catch them.”
For once, an estimate of welfare fraud losses we can recognise.

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