A Driffield resident has been handed a criminal record after fraudulently claiming over £3,000 in benefits.
Angela Cowton, 45, of Wood Crescent, Driffield, appeared before Bridlington Magistrates and pleaded guilty to dishonestly failing to promptly notify East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the Department for Work and Pensions of a change in circumstances affecting her entitlement to housing benefit and job seekers allowance.
The case was brought to court following a joint investigation by East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the Department for Work and Pensions who discovered that Angela Cowton had failed to declare savings in excess of £40,000.
Magistrates sentenced Cowton to a 12 month order of conditional discharge and ordered to pay £85 towards costs.
In addition, she also has to repay the £3,161.61 she fraudulently claimed between August 2013 and January 2014.
Jeff Taylor, principal fraud investigation and enforcement officer for East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “ We will continue to use all the powers at our disposal to ensure money goes to those who genuinely need it, and not to the dishonest minority.”
Anyone who suspects benefit fraud in the East Riding can call the 24-hour benefit fraud hotline in confidence on (01482) 394949, text 07786 200850 or email email@example.com
Meanwhile, Ryedale residents who cheat the system are being targeted in a new campaign by Ryedale District Council.
In the coming weeks, Ryedale District Council will be embarking on an exercise which will identify fraudulently claimed discount among Council Tax payers who are attempting to cheat the system.
This exercise will involve a third party company the Council has procured, who specialise in cross referencing household data through credit reference checks.
Each year, local authorities nationwide receive a high volume of applications for single occupier discount. Sadly, some of these applications are not genuine, and just like benefit cheats; these people are claiming reductions in their bills falsely.
Once the exercise starts, all cases where a mismatch is shown will be reviewed.
Some fraud of course, will be unintentional and each case will be considered on its’ own merits.
New legislation has also come in, which will allow Council Tax cheats to be prosecuted in the same way that benefit cheats are through the court system and made to pay back the money that they owe.
Ryedale District Council has not increased its’ Council Tax precept in the last 5 years and in order to ensure best value for residents the authority is making continual efforts to clamp down on those that attempt take advantage of the system and in turn, are taking advantage of genuine Council Tax payers.
Alan McCarten, Senior Revenues Officer for Ryedale District Council said “This is an opportunity for our residents to contact us if they think they should not be entitled to single person discount before we undertake the review exercise. We will write to residents over the next few weeks who are claiming single person discount, to determine whether they do, in fact, have an entitlement to the discount.”
Any residents who think they may not be entitled to single person discount should contact Revenues Services on 01653 600666 ext: 650, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org