Two benefit cheats ordered to repay thousands to Rugby Borough Council

Plans include a park, play area, gym equipment, allotments and more
Plans include a park, play area, gym equipment, allotments and more
0
Have your say

Two benefit cheats who fraudulently claimed thousands of pounds in housing and council tax benefits must repay the cash to Rugby Borough Council.

The cases of Joyce Barratt and Benjamin Carter were heard at Nuneaton Magistrates Court on Monday 20 April.

Both pleaded guilty to failing to inform the council of a change in circumstances.

Barratt, of John Thwaites Close, was claiming housing and council tax benefits in March 2013 when she signed a statement pledging to inform the council of any changes to her working hours or pay.

But in November 2014 the council received details of her wages from HM Revenue and Customs which showed a significant increase in her pay just a month after she had signed the statement.

When interviewed by the council’s fraud officer, Barratt admitted failing to tell the council of the change in her circumstances.

From April 1 2013 to October 5 2014 she had fraudulently claimed a total of £8,032 in benefits - which she has now started to repay.

Magistrates fined the 52-year-old £80 and ordered her to pay £492 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

In a separate hearing, the court was told Carter, of Ambleside, fraudulently claimed £5,699 in housing and council tax benefits.

The 37-year-old was unemployed when he started claiming benefits in 2011 but failed to tell the council when he found work in August 2013.

The fraudulent claims came to light when the council received details of Carter’s wages from HM Revenue and Customs in February 2015.

When interviewed, he admitted failing to tell the council he had started work.

In court, through his solicitor, Carter said he told the Tax Credit Office he had started work and he believed the information was passed on to the council.

He was given a 12 month conditional discharge by magistrates, who ordered him to pay £280 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Carter has now started to repay the benefits he fraudulently claimed between August 5 2013 and November 23 2014.

Speaking after the hearings, Adam Norburn, executive director of Rugby Borough Council, said: “Benefit fraud costs the taxpayer a considerable amount of money and the council has a duty to investigate those who try and cheat the system.

“I’d urge anyone who is uncertain about how their circumstances affect their benefit claims to contact the council for advice.”

Residents can contact the council’s benefits team on (01788) 533433.