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Suffolk Coastal: Council pledge to pursue benefit cheats

09:00 15 December 2012

Suffolk Coastal District Council has pledged to continue its fight against benefit cheats

Suffolk Coastal District Council has pledged to continue its fight against benefit cheats

Archant

COUNCIL chiefs have vowed to continue to take a tough stance against benefit cheats, following two successful prosecutions.

Amanda Shuter, 53, of The Street, Walberswick, was fined £500 after she failed to tell Suffolk Coastal District Council about a change in circumstances when she received more than £110,000 from the proceeds of her mother’s will.

It resulted in her wrongly receiving £6,671.89 of housing benefits and £1,850.63 of council tax benefits.

She pleaded guilty to one offence of dishonestly making a false statement for the purpose of obtaining benefit at Lowestoft Magistrates Court on Wednesday. Along with a £500 fine, £150 costs and £15 victim surcharge, she will also have to pay back the money she claimed – an overall total of £9,187.52.

At an unrelated hearing on Tuesday, Amy Robinson, of Wadgate Road, Felixstowe, admitted two charges of failing to notify the relevant authorities of a change in her circumstances that affected her entitlement to claim benefits.

The 24-year-old, formerly of Cricket Hill Road, Felixstowe, received £4,303.33 of housing benefits and £776.69 of council tax benefit from Suffolk Coastal and £2,734.36 of income support from the Department of Work and Pensions when she failed to say her partner had moved into her home in June last year.

Magistrates in Ipswich fined her £140 for each charge along with demanding £75 costs and a £15 victim surcharge, while she will also have to pay back the money she claimed – a total bill of £8,184.38.

In a statement released after the court case, Siobhan Martin, Suffolk Coastal’s audit partnership manager, said the authority was committed to rooting out all benefit fraud and reclaiming what had been paid out.

“This should be a further stark warning to those who are tempted to cheat the system and claim money to which they are not entitled that they will be caught,” she said.

“The consequences are likely to mean legal action and the repayment of all money that has been wrongly received.

“At a time when everyone’s finances are under pressure, and local councils particularly, we have to be more vigilant than ever on payments and we will continue to seek out and penalise the small minority who are intent on taking what is not rightfully theirs.

“However, we are also committed to helping those who are genuinely in need to get the support they deserve.”

To report a suspected fraud contact Suffolk Coastal’s confidential hotline on 01394 444444 or e-mail fraud.investigation@suffolkcoastal.gov.uk.

Those who would like more information about the benefits they are entitled to can call 01394 444838 or visit www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk/yourhome/benefits.

1 comment

  • So they've prosecuted two people when there must be at least hundreds on the fiddle. Long way to go.

    Report this comment

    JOHN BURLS

    Sunday, December 16, 2012

Delivering millions of presents around the world in a single night won’t seem as strenuous this Christmas for Santa after he completed a gruelling obstacle course in Ipswich.

The RSPCA are appealing for animal lovers to come forward and adopt some of the cute creatures they are looking to rehome.

An Ipswich musician is this month ditching the razor in tribute to his sister who bravely overcame bowel cancer.

Eagle-eyed shoppers have spent the day looking for the ideal gift at a Christmas market at a church in Felixstowe.

A young man was killed during a crash between a car and a lorry in Essex this morning.

“We won’t let this happen without making a lot of noise”.

A diving club has marked its 60th anniversary by renaming two boats after founding members.

A coroner looking into the death of an 85-year-old man whose body was washed up in Orford Ness says we might never know what happened to him.

Members of Suffolk County Council are expected to call for Network Rail to invest heavily in the region’s railways following the start of the new Greater Anglia franchise.

The train lines from London to Ipswich have now reopened after a man was hit and killed by a train between Colchester and Manningtree earlier today.

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