HUNTINGDONSHIRE magistrates continued their crackdown on benefit cheats last week, when they sentenced four fraudsters over a total of almost £14,000 in false claims. Robert Davis, 63, of The Broadwalk, St Neots, claimed housing and Council Tax benefit fr
HUNTINGDONSHIRE magistrates continued their crackdown on benefit cheats last week, when they sentenced four fraudsters over a total of almost £14,000 in false claims.
Robert Davis, 63, of The Broadwalk, St Neots, claimed housing and Council Tax benefit from 2005 as an unemployed single person. He pleaded guilty to one charge of benefit fraud when he failed to declare to Huntingdonshire District Council that he had sold land that he owned in 2006.
The court heard that, following a tip-off from a member of the public, an investigation revealed that Davis had an undisclosed bank account into which he had paid £27,000 from the proceeds of the sale of the land. He was overpaid £6,124 benefit as a result.
Davis, who was of previous good character and who had assisted the council with its enquiries, received a three-year conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £220 costs to the council. He has already made arrangements to pay the overpaid benefit back to the council.
Cheryl Kester, 49, of Cromwell Gardens, St Neots, admitted working more hours than she had originally stated when claiming benefit, and to having another person living at her address whom she had not declared while she claimed. Kester was paid £4,420 in benefits between November 2005 and August 2007 that she was not entitled to.
She was ordered to complete 90 hours of unpaid work for the community and pay the council £220 costs. She will also have to pay back the benefits she falsely claimed.
Sean Pepper, 52, of Carnaby Close, Godmanchester, pleaded guilty to three charges of benefit fraud after failing to declare that he was employed by various recruitment agencies between December 2005 and May 2007. The court heard that he was overpaid £1,062 in benefit.
His solicitor, David Potter, said that his client had been of previous good character and that he had reported other work that he had undertaken, although he accepted that he had failed to declare all the work to the council.
Pepper was given a two-year conditional discharge and was ordered to pay the balance of the debt outstanding of £897 to the council by way of compensation and £200 costs.
Julie Saunders, 45, of Surrey Road, Huntingdon, pleaded guilty to one charge of benefit fraud between June and December 2005, when she failed to declare that her partner Steven Griffin lived with her.
The council was tipped off by a member of the public about the suspected fraud and an investigation disclosed that Saunders had lived with Griffin at the benefit address while she claimed benefit as a single person. Saunders was overpaid £2,307.
The court heard that Saunders initially denied that Griffin lived with her but later admitted it during an interview with council investigators. The court gave Saunders credit for her guilty plea and, as she had repaid all the benefits she had falsely claimed, she received a 24-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £584 costs to the council.
INFORMATION: If you know someone who is claiming benefit to which he or she is not entitled to it, you can contact the fraud investigation team on 01480 388480 or call the 24-hour confidential fraud hot line on 01480 388188.
You can also report fraud by e-mail to FraudTeam@
huntsdc.gov.uk HDC promises that all calls will be dealt with and treated in the strictest confidence.