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4 Oct 2017

"Single" benefit fraud parent wasn't single

A woman who failed to notify authorities of a change in her circumstances that would affect her entitlement to benefits, namely that she was cohabiting with her partner in Tenby, has been handed a suspended jail sentence.

Forty-year-old Tanya Harmsworth appeared at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court, to plead guilty to a charge of failing to notify Pembrokeshire County Council of a change in her circumstances that would affect her entitlement to housing benefit; and a second charge of failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions, over her circumstances affecting her employment and support allowance.

Prosecutor Ellie Morgan told the court that the claims were made between June, 2013 and September, 2016.

“The defendant was in receipt of ESA for herself and one child, on the grounds that she was living as a lone parent, and also housing benefit for the same period. She failed to declare that she was living in a common household with her partner Charles Marsden in Tenby. Ms Harmsworth received an overpayment of £28,099. A repayment plan is already in place with the authorities,” she added.

Magistrates sentenced Ms Harmsworth to six months in custody, suspended for two years.

She was also ordered to pay £85 prosecution costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

Source

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