Benefit cheat appears in court

A FELIXSTOWE woman has today found cheating the system does not pay after claiming £5,000 in benefits to which she was not entitled.

A FELIXSTOWE woman has today found cheating the system does not pay after claiming £5,000 in benefits to which she was not entitled.

Charlene Ryan, 22, of High Road West, pleaded guilty to six counts of benefit fraud, and was sentenced to a 12 months' community order, with 60 hours unpaid work, and ordered to pay £75 costs.

South-East Suffolk Magistrates heard she had claimed the £5,000 in benefits from Suffolk Coastal council and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

Although she was living with her partner, Ryan falsely claimed income support, housing and council tax benefit for a single person living alone. She also failed to declare all of her bank accounts and sources of income.

Her partner was running a business selling goods on eBay from the house they shared, which Ryan also failed to inform the council of when she applied for benefits.

“Miss Ryan committed fraud by not informing the council of her true situation. Her crime was discovered thanks to the work of Suffolk Coastal's fraud investigators and their colleagues in the DWP,” said Ray Herring, leader of Suffolk Coastal.

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“By working closely with members of staff at the DWP and other local authorities, Suffolk Coastal's fraud officers are able to find out when mistaken payments or claims have been made and rectify them swiftly.

“If these are discovered to be the result of fraud or deception, we will always take appropriate action, including going to the courts.

“Miss Ryan deceived Suffolk Coastal and fraudulently claimed money that had been set aside for people in the district in genuine financial need.

“This case should serve to let others know that if they try to cheat the system, they will get caught.”

He said anyone receiving benefits should notify the council on 01394 444838 if there is any change in their circumstances. This can sometimes mean that they receive more, rather than less benefit.

Suffolk Coastal has a 24-hour Fraud Hotline for residents to call confidentially and report suspected benefit frauds - 01394 444444.

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