Couple claimed council tax benefit despite having £100,000 in investments

Cambridge Magistrates' Court.

Cambridge Magistrates' Court. - Credit: Archant

A Cambourne couple who failed to declare more than £100,000 in investments while claiming benefits have been given criminal records.

David Stubbins, 62, and his wife Amanda, 58, both of School Lane, were prosecuted for failing to notify South Cambridgeshire District Council that they held large sums of money in undisclosed investments.

By failing to notify the council of the savings, the pair falsely claimed almost £6,000 in discount on their council tax which they have already repaid.

The couple both pleaded guilty at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court last month as they confirmed that they had failed to notify the council of capital held in various investment accounts, including savings bonds.

Mr Stubbins was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison, suspended for two years. He must also pay £85 in costs and a victim surcharge of £115.

Mrs Stubbins was fined £2,000, and ordered to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £120.

The council brought the case to court after officers established during the course of the investigation that the couple had falsely represented their circumstances in order to obtain council tax support, substantially reducing the amount they had to pay in council tax.

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The investigation was undertaken when data matching from other public sector organisations, including the Department for Work and Pensions, indicated that the couple held large sums of undeclared capital.

Investigations found that undeclared accounts and investments jointly held over £127,000 at some points when council tax support was claimed.

The discount falsely claimed totalled £5,775.47.

Councillor Simon Edwards, cabinet member for finance at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “Benefits are there for those who need them - not for someone who had over £100,000 sitting in the bank while making a claim.

“By taking money that they are not entitled to it means others in real need are being deprived. I hope Mr and Mrs Stubbins both feel thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

“Please talk to us when your circumstances change - if you do not you could end up in court and with a criminal record.”