'You will be caught'

BENEFIT fraudsters are being warned today – it is not a case of if you are caught but when.The assurance that all fraudsters would be caught and prosecuted came from Suffolk Coastal District Council following its sixth successful court prosecution since April.

BENEFIT fraudsters are being warned today – it is not a case of if you are caught but when.

The assurance that all fraudsters would be caught and prosecuted came from Suffolk Coastal District Council following its sixth successful court prosecution since April.

Sproughton man Austin Woods was fined £300 and ordered to pay £100 costs after pleading guilty to benefit fraud.

Woods, formerly of Nicholls Close, Ufford, falsely obtained benefits that netted him more than £1,670 from Suffolk Coastal District Council.


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He failed to inform the council about a change in his circumstances – namely setting up his own business – that had originally made him eligible for benefit.

He continued receiving housing benefit payment over a six month period and the offence came to light following an investigation by the council's counter-fraud unit.

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By the time his case was heard at South East Suffolk Coastal Magistrates Court however he had paid back virtually all the benefit he had falsely obtained but it did not prevent him being ordered to pay the fine and costs.

David Smith, the council's cabinet member for finance and resources, said: "This council remains committed to helping its residents to claim all the benefits to which they are rightfully entitled. But I must warn those who want to cheat the system that we will use the power of the law when we catch them.

"More than ever, thanks to our counter-fraud unit and our partnerships with other agencies, fraudsters should be aware that it is now a case of when we catch them rather than if.

"This is our sixth successful court prosecution since April and there are more to come – fraudsters beware, we will catch you," he added.

The council warns anyone receiving benefits to notify them on 01394 444838 if there is any change to their circumstances.

Suffolk Coastal's confidential benefit fraud hotline is 01394 444444. Contact can also be made by e-mail to fraud.investigation@suffolkcoastal.gov.uk andmore information is available on the website: www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk/services/benefits

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