Huntingdon benefit fraudster sentenced
A FRAUDSTER who concealed her inheritance from the authorities and falsely claimed more than £15,000 in benefits was sentenced at Huntingdon Magistrates Court on September 17.
Debra Charter, 47, of Surrey Road, Huntingdon, received a 16 week prison sentence which was suspended for 18 months and was ordered to complete 18 months supervision with the Probation Service, including 80 hours of unpaid work.
She was also ordered to pay the Council’s costs, totalling £900.
Ms Charter pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to 10 charges of benefit fraud dating from 2007 to 2011, falsely claiming £15,667 in Housing and Council Tax Benefits and Income Support.
A tip-off from a member of the public in August 2012 sparked an investigation into Ms Charter’s finances by Huntingdonshire District Council’s Fraud Team.
They discovered that she had received an inheritance in 2008, a lump sum from the sale of a former home in 2007 and that she had been receiving a pension since 2008 – all of which she had failed to declare.
Although authorities were aware that she was employed, she had also neglected to report an increase in her wages from 2010.
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Councillor Barry Chapman, Executive Councillor for Customer Services, said: “Benefit fraud is an extremely serious offence, and costs the taxpayer millions of pounds each year. I would encourage members of the public to report any suspicion of fraud to the council’s fraud team who will investigate fully each report received.”