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Salisbury woman guilty of benefit fraud
5:03pm Friday 22nd February 2013 in Headlines
A WOMAN from Salisbury has been ordered to repay more than £3,000 to Wiltshire Council after committing benefit fraud.
Fay Wells of Hazel Close, Bemerton Heath, claimed both housing benefit and council tax benefit over the course of a year despite her work hours having doubled.
Salisbury Magistrates heard Wells had submitted a claim for benefits in April 2011 based on her earned income of 16 hours work a week.
But an investigation revealed she had been working double the hours for her employer and had not declared it to the council.
In an interview under caution the 39-year-old admitted the fraud, pleading guilty at the first opportunity.
Her benefit claim was amended accordingly, creating overpayments of £1892.32 for housing benefit and £1429.90 for council tax benefit for the period May 30, 2011 to May 20, 2012.
On Monday (February 18), magistrates ordered Wells to pay back the overpayment of benefit to Wiltshire Council, amounting to £3322.22. She was also given a £130 fine and ordered to pay £50 court costs.
A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “It is always the responsibility of the person claiming benefit to tell the council of any changes in circumstances which may affect their entitlement. If there is any doubt, then the revenues and benefits team will be happy to discuss any issues.
“The council is keen to stamp out benefit fraud and will take action against those found to be cheating the system. If you have any information that can help catch a benefit cheat, call Wiltshire Council’s confidential hotline on 01249 706256 or the National Fraud Hotline on 0800 854440. Benefit fraud can also be reported on the Council’s website www.wiltshire.gov.uk/benefitfraud. You do not have to give your name and you can be assured of complete confidentiality at all times.”
For advice or to report any changes in circumstances that may affect your benefit entitlement contact 0300 456 0110.