Natasha Windiate fraudulently claimed £20,000 in benefits

Worcester News: Married benefit cheat claimed £20,000 Married benefit cheat claimed £20,000

A MARRIED woman who pretended to be single has been found guilty of fraudulently claiming nearly £20,000 in benefits.

Natasha Windiate, aged 24, had claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit as a single person since November 2008.

The claims related to her current address at 31 Chedworth Drive, Worcester, and her previous addresses of 37 Randwick Drive and 6 Chedworth Close, which she had rented in the city.

Investigators found that Windiate had failed to declare that she was living together with her partner, Adam Windiate, at the same address.

He was working, while she was continuing to claim benefits.

When she was interviewed about the matter in October 2011 and February 2012 she denied they had been living together.

However, during a second interview, by which time her benefits claims had already been cancelled, she confirmed that they were married on 26 November 2011.

The investigation uncovered that Windiate had received overpayments of £7,647.67 in Jobseeker’s Allowance and £12,256.92 in Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit because of her fraudulent claims.

The case was heard at Worcester Magistrates Court on February 7 where Windiate pleaded guilty to the charges brought by the Worcester City Council.

In mitigation, her solicitor Sarah Brady from Lister Brady Solicitors advised the bench that Windiate was utterly ashamed of what had happened.

The court heard that Windiate accepted she had become financially intermingled at an early stage with Adam Windiate, and that she should have declared the change in her circumstances.

Magistrates were told that Windiate had had a difficult background in care, but was now in paid employment.

She has a six-month-old baby and suffers from anxiety and depression, the court was told.

Magistrates ordered Windiate to fully repay all the benefits to which she was not entitled and gave her a conditional discharge of 24 months. Prosecutors for the Council were awarded costs of £500.

Nick Jefferies, Head of Shared Services at Worcester City Council, said: “We consider benefit fraud to be a serious matter.

"People have a duty to notify us and report any change in circumstances when it comes to matters that might affect benefit payments, just as we have a duty to protect public funds.”

If you are claiming Housing or Council Tax Benefits and are unsure whether or not you are still entitled to receive them, contact Worcester City Council on 01905 722233 for advice.

Comments (12)

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7:15pm Tue 12 Feb 13

TDH123 says...

A conditional discharge for 24 months - a frankly pathetic sentence for some dishonest, selfish scrounger who has chosen to steal from decent taxpayers - her offending over a period of time and then not denying her dishonesty should surely have resulted in punishment? How will this deter others with a similar selfish inclination?
It is a pity that those who do not show gratitude to those who pay their benefits and are prepared to effectively "stick two fingers up" at the system cannot simply be denied future access to benefits and then we, the hard working taxpayers, can finally "stick two fingers up" at these scroungers!
A conditional discharge for 24 months - a frankly pathetic sentence for some dishonest, selfish scrounger who has chosen to steal from decent taxpayers - her offending over a period of time and then not denying her dishonesty should surely have resulted in punishment? How will this deter others with a similar selfish inclination? It is a pity that those who do not show gratitude to those who pay their benefits and are prepared to effectively "stick two fingers up" at the system cannot simply be denied future access to benefits and then we, the hard working taxpayers, can finally "stick two fingers up" at these scroungers! TDH123

7:30pm Tue 12 Feb 13

pinkfluff says...

You would think that with today's technology there would be alerts on computer systems to highlight any change in circumstance. I'm no expert though but I imagine it could be done.
You would think that with today's technology there would be alerts on computer systems to highlight any change in circumstance. I'm no expert though but I imagine it could be done. pinkfluff

10:41pm Tue 12 Feb 13

jovialcommonsense says...

TDH123 wrote:
A conditional discharge for 24 months - a frankly pathetic sentence for some dishonest, selfish scrounger who has chosen to steal from decent taxpayers - her offending over a period of time and then not denying her dishonesty should surely have resulted in punishment? How will this deter others with a similar selfish inclination?
It is a pity that those who do not show gratitude to those who pay their benefits and are prepared to effectively "stick two fingers up" at the system cannot simply be denied future access to benefits and then we, the hard working taxpayers, can finally "stick two fingers up" at these scroungers!
Agree with the sentiments.
However, as stated in the article, she is in employment and, I assume, the condition is that she pays back the money she has stolen.
If she goes to prison she loses employment so will never repay and cost us even more by keeping her in prison.
If she repays the monies it is the best outcome for us all.
[quote][p][bold]TDH123[/bold] wrote: A conditional discharge for 24 months - a frankly pathetic sentence for some dishonest, selfish scrounger who has chosen to steal from decent taxpayers - her offending over a period of time and then not denying her dishonesty should surely have resulted in punishment? How will this deter others with a similar selfish inclination? It is a pity that those who do not show gratitude to those who pay their benefits and are prepared to effectively "stick two fingers up" at the system cannot simply be denied future access to benefits and then we, the hard working taxpayers, can finally "stick two fingers up" at these scroungers![/p][/quote]Agree with the sentiments. However, as stated in the article, she is in employment and, I assume, the condition is that she pays back the money she has stolen. If she goes to prison she loses employment so will never repay and cost us even more by keeping her in prison. If she repays the monies it is the best outcome for us all. jovialcommonsense

12:56am Wed 13 Feb 13

jb says...

In paid employment, has six month old baby and suffers from anxiety and depression. My heart bleeds. This was a calculated deliberate act of benefit fraud but the courts were swayed, quite easily reallymbynthe sob story. I wonder if her employers will take her criminal conviction into consideration now. Harsh? No, if this had been the husband he would have been sent down.
In paid employment, has six month old baby and suffers from anxiety and depression. My heart bleeds. This was a calculated deliberate act of benefit fraud but the courts were swayed, quite easily reallymbynthe sob story. I wonder if her employers will take her criminal conviction into consideration now. Harsh? No, if this had been the husband he would have been sent down. jb

7:54am Wed 13 Feb 13

Respectable says...

Love our tolerance of career crooks in the UK.

Glad my 5:30am alarm enables scrounging thieves like this to live a more lavish lifestyle than she is entitled to.
Love our tolerance of career crooks in the UK. Glad my 5:30am alarm enables scrounging thieves like this to live a more lavish lifestyle than she is entitled to. Respectable

10:22am Wed 13 Feb 13

nicki1967 says...

jb wrote:
In paid employment, has six month old baby and suffers from anxiety and depression. My heart bleeds. This was a calculated deliberate act of benefit fraud but the courts were swayed, quite easily reallymbynthe sob story. I wonder if her employers will take her criminal conviction into consideration now. Harsh? No, if this had been the husband he would have been sent down.
Well said! You beat me to it. There are far too many benefit cheats getting away with it. It's about time we stop targeting the people who really need help and focus on stopping this sort of thing from happening continuously.
[quote][p][bold]jb[/bold] wrote: In paid employment, has six month old baby and suffers from anxiety and depression. My heart bleeds. This was a calculated deliberate act of benefit fraud but the courts were swayed, quite easily reallymbynthe sob story. I wonder if her employers will take her criminal conviction into consideration now. Harsh? No, if this had been the husband he would have been sent down.[/p][/quote]Well said! You beat me to it. There are far too many benefit cheats getting away with it. It's about time we stop targeting the people who really need help and focus on stopping this sort of thing from happening continuously. nicki1967

10:55am Wed 13 Feb 13

More Tea Vicar says...

Our system seems to be wide open to abuse. My own experience is that it doesn't pay out much to those who really need it, but is very generous to those who are willing to defraud it, or just choose to sponge off it (like having a ruck of kids when you know you are always going to be benefits-dependent).


It is great that the abuse was found out and dealt with, but I wonder if this is not just the tip of the iceberg?
Our system seems to be wide open to abuse. My own experience is that it doesn't pay out much to those who really need it, but is very generous to those who are willing to defraud it, or just choose to sponge off it (like having a ruck of kids when you know you are always going to be benefits-dependent). It is great that the abuse was found out and dealt with, but I wonder if this is not just the tip of the iceberg? More Tea Vicar

1:27pm Wed 13 Feb 13

rdk1420 says...

I know of someone who is claiming disability benefits, apparently she cannot walk because of operations on her back. She has a new car every 3 years, all paid for. Taxed, MOT and Serviced regularly, and has her mortgage paid for. She is clearly not disabled as she put up pictures of herself on the top of the Malvern Hills with snow and ice on the ground. If she is so disabled how can she get up there. Also holiday pictures walking in Scotland etc etc. I saw her in Drummonds a couple of months ago dancing away at 1 in the morning. Also saw her on a bicycle with her boyfriend last week.I have reported her twice and was told they can do nothing about facebook photos, even though it shows her clearly. They have said they will not go by my word alone so I asked them top follow her etc and I was told they can only do this if I can tell them her exact movements as they cannot just sit outside her house all day long. As I explained I am a single parent of 2 children and have no handouts whatsoever. This has to be wrong, clearly!!!!
I know of someone who is claiming disability benefits, apparently she cannot walk because of operations on her back. She has a new car every 3 years, all paid for. Taxed, MOT and Serviced regularly, and has her mortgage paid for. She is clearly not disabled as she put up pictures of herself on the top of the Malvern Hills with snow and ice on the ground. If she is so disabled how can she get up there. Also holiday pictures walking in Scotland etc etc. I saw her in Drummonds a couple of months ago dancing away at 1 in the morning. Also saw her on a bicycle with her boyfriend last week.I have reported her twice and was told they can do nothing about facebook photos, even though it shows her clearly. They have said they will not go by my word alone so I asked them top follow her etc and I was told they can only do this if I can tell them her exact movements as they cannot just sit outside her house all day long. As I explained I am a single parent of 2 children and have no handouts whatsoever. This has to be wrong, clearly!!!! rdk1420

5:43pm Wed 13 Feb 13

More Tea Vicar says...

rdk1420 wrote:
I know of someone who is claiming disability benefits, apparently she cannot walk because of operations on her back. She has a new car every 3 years, all paid for. Taxed, MOT and Serviced regularly, and has her mortgage paid for. She is clearly not disabled as she put up pictures of herself on the top of the Malvern Hills with snow and ice on the ground. If she is so disabled how can she get up there. Also holiday pictures walking in Scotland etc etc. I saw her in Drummonds a couple of months ago dancing away at 1 in the morning. Also saw her on a bicycle with her boyfriend last week.I have reported her twice and was told they can do nothing about facebook photos, even though it shows her clearly. They have said they will not go by my word alone so I asked them top follow her etc and I was told they can only do this if I can tell them her exact movements as they cannot just sit outside her house all day long. As I explained I am a single parent of 2 children and have no handouts whatsoever. This has to be wrong, clearly!!!!
yes, it is wrong. Very wrong.

I am all for generous benefits for those who genuinely need and are entitled to them (not necessarily the same thing...).

And the authorities have to take their share of the blame. You seem to have done your bit, but not been heeded. You should report the people you spoke to, and the system needs as big an overhaul as I suspect the meat industry is just about to get.
[quote][p][bold]rdk1420[/bold] wrote: I know of someone who is claiming disability benefits, apparently she cannot walk because of operations on her back. She has a new car every 3 years, all paid for. Taxed, MOT and Serviced regularly, and has her mortgage paid for. She is clearly not disabled as she put up pictures of herself on the top of the Malvern Hills with snow and ice on the ground. If she is so disabled how can she get up there. Also holiday pictures walking in Scotland etc etc. I saw her in Drummonds a couple of months ago dancing away at 1 in the morning. Also saw her on a bicycle with her boyfriend last week.I have reported her twice and was told they can do nothing about facebook photos, even though it shows her clearly. They have said they will not go by my word alone so I asked them top follow her etc and I was told they can only do this if I can tell them her exact movements as they cannot just sit outside her house all day long. As I explained I am a single parent of 2 children and have no handouts whatsoever. This has to be wrong, clearly!!!![/p][/quote]yes, it is wrong. Very wrong. I am all for generous benefits for those who genuinely need and are entitled to them (not necessarily the same thing...). And the authorities have to take their share of the blame. You seem to have done your bit, but not been heeded. You should report the people you spoke to, and the system needs as big an overhaul as I suspect the meat industry is just about to get. More Tea Vicar

1:49pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Genepaulkev says...

And here we go again, someone pinches £20,000 of someone else's hard earned tax and they are let off, I know she is to pay it all back but it will probably be at £2 a month cause that's all she can afford!

The UK soft attitude to those who steal our hard earned tax money.
And here we go again, someone pinches £20,000 of someone else's hard earned tax and they are let off, I know she is to pay it all back but it will probably be at £2 a month cause that's all she can afford! The UK soft attitude to those who steal our hard earned tax money. Genepaulkev

7:20pm Sat 16 Feb 13

lss_lss says...

well i'm glad she has finally been found out beacuse i know she has been doing it for alot longer then they think she has!!
And as for her playing i was in care card well thanks alot that gives the rest of us who were in care the same label as you. I was in care and i have never done anything like this and would never use that to get my way out of something.
and if she had depression and anxiety surly she wouldn't be able to go to work then??? i think she has the case of being a total fraud and using anything she can to try and get out of it. i think she should of had more punshiment then just paying the money back.
well i'm glad she has finally been found out beacuse i know she has been doing it for alot longer then they think she has!! And as for her playing i was in care card well thanks alot that gives the rest of us who were in care the same label as you. I was in care and i have never done anything like this and would never use that to get my way out of something. and if she had depression and anxiety surly she wouldn't be able to go to work then??? i think she has the case of being a total fraud and using anything she can to try and get out of it. i think she should of had more punshiment then just paying the money back. lss_lss

4:03pm Mon 18 Feb 13

kateamuffin says...

she suffers from anxiety and depression, probably so scared of being found out & the worry of paying it back!
Dont worry i will go to work full time to pay for you, along with all the others!!
I am sure these people are born into the system, I would have no idea where to start with claiming for anything in life, neither do i intend to!
she suffers from anxiety and depression, probably so scared of being found out & the worry of paying it back! Dont worry i will go to work full time to pay for you, along with all the others!! I am sure these people are born into the system, I would have no idea where to start with claiming for anything in life, neither do i intend to! kateamuffin

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