Three plead guilty of fraud over claims to district council for tax support

Three residents plead guilty to counts of fraud after district council investigations

Three residents plead guilty to counts of fraud after district council investigations - Credit: Archant

Three Huntingdonshire residents have been sentenced for fraud by magistrates after cases were brought against them by the district council.

The residents appeared at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on February 15, where it was heard that they had all made false claims to the authority.

Emma Neal, 24, previously of Samuel Jones Crescent, Little Paxton, pleaded guilty to making false statements or representations to the council in that she was resident when, in fact, she lived elsewhere and was not entitled to council tax support.

She was given a 12-month conditional discharge.

As a result of the council’s investigation, and joint working with Cambridge Housing Society, into Neal’s claims for council tax support, and her non-residency, the property was recovered and has now been re-allocated.

Another of those who appeared in court was Fiona Smart, of Waterloo Drive, in Eynesbury. She pleaded guilty to making false representations to the council for a single person discount.

Smart claimed the discount in June 2013, stating that her husband had left the address.

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However, following a council investigation it was found that her Smart’s husband had returned to the property, and she failed to notify the council and continued to claim the discount.

The 62-year-old was fined £150, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30 and a contribution towards the council’s costs in the sum of £500.

The court also heard the case of Claire Childs, of Whitehall Walk, St Neots, who appeared on two offences of making claims for council tax support and single person discount.

The 44-year-old told the council she was single when, in fact, her partner, who was employed, was also living at the property.

Childs was not represented in court, but stated that although she was pleading guilty, the relationship had now finished and, when it had existed, her partner did not stay at the address every night.

She was ordered to pay a fine of £100, a victim surcharge of £30 and a contribution to the council’s costs in the sum of £170.

Councillor Jonathan Gray, executive councillor for resources, said: “The benefit system exists to help those in need within our society. The council will always assist people to access the help that is available to them. However these prosecutions show that we will also do all within our power to bring to justice those who are cheating on the rest of us.”