Three in court to face benefit fraud charges

THREE men appeared at Huntingdon Magistrates Court last Wednesday charged with benefit fraud. Vicki Stevens, prosecuting for Huntingdonshire District Council, told the court Mark John Turner, 30, formerly of Weir Close, Buckden, but now living at Springbr

THREE men appeared at Huntingdon Magistrates Court last Wednesday charged with benefit fraud.

Vicki Stevens, prosecuting for Huntingdonshire District Council, told the court Mark John Turner, 30, formerly of Weir Close, Buckden, but now living at Springbrook, St Neots, started claiming housing and Council Tax benefits from the council in September 2003 while both he and his partner were unemployed.

However, data from the Department for Work and Pensions later revealed Turner had in fact returned to work.

An investigation in 2005 found Turner worked for an employment agency during 2004 while his partner had also worked between 2003 and 2004.

Miss Stevens said he had been overpaid £2,194 in housing and Council Tax benefits between 2003 and 2004.

Turner, who pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing, was sentenced to 80 hours community punishment and given an 18-month community rehabilitation order. He was also ordered to pay £200 costs.

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A second case related to Andrew Manning, 39, of the Goodliff Close, Huntingdon.

The court was told Manning claimed benefit from the council between 2003 and 2004, stating both he and his wife were unemployed. A tip-off in 2004 suggested Manning was working.

An investigation revealed he had been running his own business since February 2003 but had continued to claim benefits.

Manning, who pleaded guilty to one charge of benefit fraud, was given an 18-month community rehabilitation order and required to pay HDC £5,889 compensation. He was also ordered to pay £200 costs.

Jason Otis Dyne of Lucas Court, Huntingdon, had denied two counts of benefit fraud earlier this year, but was found guilty.

Veronica Candy, prosecuting, told the court Dyne had legitimately claimed housing and Council Tax benefits in November 2003 when he became unemployed. In April 2004, he found employment but did not declare the work. He was overpaid £2,439 in benefit.

Magistrates accepted the mitigation offered by Dyne's solicitor that he was now unemployed again, suffering from ill health, and had a wife and four children to support. He received a two-year conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £50 costs.

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