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27 Mar 2015

Benefit thief fined £100 for illegally claiming £4700

It seems to be Get Off Lightly time in the West Country again. Dave noticed this.

A Torquay woman who cheated the taxpayer of almost £5,000 in benefits has been fined £100 by magistrates.

Audrey Tomlinson, 56, claimed housing benefit on the basis she earned just £81 a week working. But an investigation by Torbay Council found she actually earned £207 a week.

Tomlinson admitted failing to notify the council of a change of circumstances affecting her entitlement to housing benefit when she appeared before magistrates in Torquay. The court was told the offence went on for a 14-month period between November 2012 and March 2014.

Prosecutor Michael McCabe said: "This defendant is a long-term benefit claimant who had a detailed history of benefit claiming. She was aware of the need to inform about her change of circumstances. It is clear this defendant was very well aware that wage increases affect entitlement to benefit. The only explanation for her failure to tell them she was working is because she was aware that had she notified them her benefits would have been cut."

Mr McCabe described the offence as 'multiple fraud committed over a significant period of time'.

The full amount she claimed illegally was £4,716.

The prosecutor said the cost of bringing the prosecution to court would be footed by the council tax payer. He asked for £600, which he described as 'only a proportion' of the full costs.

David Charles, mitigating, said Tomlinson's claim for benefits had not been fraudulent from the beginning. He said she had cooperated straight away when the council raised concerns.

Magistrates said they were satisfied she was paying back the £4,716 she had illegally claimed.

They fined the defendant £100; ordered costs of £300 and told her to pay a surcharge of £20.

Source

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