31 Oct 2014

Council relies on tipoffs to spot benefit fraud

An Ashbourne woman who dishonestly claimed benefits totalling £9,926 has been sentenced to a 12-month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work.

Sally Hodson-Ridgway, of George Street pleaded guilty at Derby Magistrates' Court to failing to inform Derbyshire Dales District Council of a change in her employment circumstances when, for two years, she held two different jobs with local cleaning and hotel companies.

The 44-year-old, who has to pay back the overpayment and the district council's £510 costs, started claiming benefits from April 2010, when she declared sole employment with the cleaning company at a rate of £107.94 a fortnight.

But an investigation by council fraud officers revealed that Hodson-Ridgway failed to inform the authority when, in August 2010, she also took a job at a hotel company.

She went on to falsely claim £8,103.03 housing benefit and £1,823.49 council tax benefit.

After sentencing, a district council spokesman said:
This was a serious level of social security fraud over a long period of time.

The district council adopts a zero tolerance policy to benefit fraud because it is not a victimless crime – benefit thieves take money intended for the most vulnerable in our society.

We rely on anonymous referrals from the public to enable our staff to successfully investigate and bring those guilty of offences to justice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How hard is it for the Inland Revenue & DWP to run NI numbers through each other's databases on a regular basis? It won't pick up the cash in hand fraudsters, but I'm assuming the hotel chain was legit and requested the NI number for PAYE etc.