Authority closes in on benefit fraudster
BENEFIT cheat Wendy McGahan has been given a suspended jail sentence after conning the authorities out of more than £10,000.The fraudster was caught thanks to Suffolk Coastal council's commitment to identifying and prosecuting those who cheat the benefits system.
BENEFIT cheat Wendy McGahan has been given a suspended jail sentence after conning the authorities out of more than £10,000.
The fraudster was caught thanks to Suffolk Coastal council's commitment to identifying and prosecuting those who cheat the benefits system.
McGahan, formerly of Potkins Lane, Orford, pleaded guilty to three separate offences at Ipswich Magistrates. She has now received a three-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months.
She admitted dishonestly making false statements in order to obtain more than £10,000 in benefit payments from Suffolk Coastal, Tendring District Council, and the Department of Work and Pensions.
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David Smith, Suffolk Coastal cabinet member for finance, said: "This case should act as a warning to anyone who is tempted to try and cheat the benefits system.
"Suffolk Coastal takes benefits fraud very seriously and so do the courts, and fraudsters run the risk of imprisonment when we catch them.
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"This Council believes in encouraging residents to claim all those benefits they are entitled to, but we will continue to investigate anyone who is trying to cheat the system and will take whatever action is appropriate against proven cheats."
Officers from Suffolk Coastal's counter fraud unit undertook a detailed investigation to a housing and council tax benefit claim submitted by McGahan.
She claimed that she was a single parent, when in fact she was living with her husband who was in paid employment. As a result of Suffolk Coastal's investigations, an offence committed against Tendring was also uncovered.
Suffolk Coastal is now taking action to recover the fraudulently claimed benefits.
The council has a confidential Benefit Fraud Hotline – 01394 444444 – on which people can report 24 hours a day, their suspicions about benefit fraud.