19 Jun 2017

Woman admits benefit fraud

A woman who admitted carrying out benefit fraud while living in Widnes has escaped an immediate jail term.

Natalie Hallwood, now of St Helens, pleaded guilty to three offences after she claimed benefits while living in Widnes.

The 31-year-old was charged with making a dishonest representation to obtain benefits relating to her rental obligation when she did not pay rent. She was sentenced at Chester Crown Court on June 2 for dishonest representation as well as one count of dishonestly failing to notify a change in circumstances in relation to £15,000 deposited into her bank account.

Hallwood, who pleading guilty to the offences at Liverpool Crown Court on May 9, was handed a sentence of 36 weeks’ imprisonment which was suspended for 18 months.

She must also carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and pay a £100 victim surcharge. The overpayment, between May 2012 and February 2014, was more than £13,202, with £11,230.30 in housing benefit and £1,972 in council tax reduction.

Cllr Mike Wharton, Halton Council's executive board member for resources, said: “The council continues to place great importance upon detecting housing benefit fraud, as indicated by the fraudulent overpayments it has uncovered over recent years, to ensure that only those who are correctly entitled to receive housing benefit do so and the public purse is not defrauded.”


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