Worcestershire woman fraudulently claimed more than £8,000

First published in News
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Worcester News: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A BENEFIT fraudster who knowingly gave false information and failed to report changes in circumstance has been fined at Worcester Magistrates Court.

Sarah Louise Cook, 25, of Nunnery Avenue, Droitwich, pleaded guilty to four counts of dishonesty by knowingly giving false information to the Department for Work and Pensions and failing to report changes in circumstances to Wychavon District Council.

A joint investigation carried out by the authorities found Cook was claiming benefits, totalling more than £8,000, for herself and husband.

She claimed she was sick and unable to work, and that her husband was unemployed, but the investigation revealed her husband was in fact working.

Further evidence obtained found that Cook’s husband had been receiving wages since February 6, 2011, and Cook had never declared this.

Nick Jefferies, Partnership Director on behalf of the South Worcestershire Partnership, 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.”

The investigation found there had been overpayments of £1,996.91 in Housing Benefit, £588.11 in Council Tax benefit, £1,637.01 in Job Seeker’s Allowance and £4,366.41 in Employment and Support Allowance.

This was a total of £8,588.44 in overpaid benefits.

On Thursday, May 1, Cook was fined £280 and ordered to pay court costs of £200 and a victim surcharge of £60.

She will also ordered to repay the benefit fraud debts in full.

If you are claiming Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support and are unsure as to whether or not you are still entitled to receive them, contact the Council on 0300 456 0560 for advice.

To report a case of benefit fraud call 01386 565280.

Comments (7)

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10:51am Thu 8 May 14

Longtreeroad says...

Not a bad deal, £600ish interest on a £8000 loan that will probably take years to pay back, should have been prison until the debt was paid in full!
Not a bad deal, £600ish interest on a £8000 loan that will probably take years to pay back, should have been prison until the debt was paid in full! Longtreeroad
  • Score: 4

1:01pm Thu 8 May 14

brooksider says...

Why don't we have a joined up system to stop scumbags like this ripping us off?
Why don't we have a joined up system to stop scumbags like this ripping us off? brooksider
  • Score: 4

9:43am Fri 9 May 14

themooman says...

At a repayment rate of £5 a month this debt will be clear in 143 years
At a repayment rate of £5 a month this debt will be clear in 143 years themooman
  • Score: 0

10:16am Fri 9 May 14

nicki1967 says...

She should have had to sell assets to pay off the debt immediately. I believe it's called a confiscation order? There's far too much fraudulent activity going on where benefits are concerned but all that is happening is that it's being made harder for genuine claimants.
She should have had to sell assets to pay off the debt immediately. I believe it's called a confiscation order? There's far too much fraudulent activity going on where benefits are concerned but all that is happening is that it's being made harder for genuine claimants. nicki1967
  • Score: 1

2:19am Sat 10 May 14

Old Uncle says...

Why not 8000 hours of community service? Or, have her stand in front of the Guildhall every Saturday with a sign telling every one she's a benefit cheat. Or, we could bring back the stocks.
Why not 8000 hours of community service? Or, have her stand in front of the Guildhall every Saturday with a sign telling every one she's a benefit cheat. Or, we could bring back the stocks. Old Uncle
  • Score: 0

8:50am Sat 10 May 14

High Time says...

Why the Guildhall when she lives in Droitwich?
Why the Guildhall when she lives in Droitwich? High Time
  • Score: -3

6:44pm Sat 10 May 14

dropkick55 says...

brooksider wrote:
Why don't we have a joined up system to stop scumbags like this ripping us off?
Knowingly gave false information and failed to report changes in circumstance, Sounds like the Tory elite and their tax returns and expenses!
[quote][p][bold]brooksider[/bold] wrote: Why don't we have a joined up system to stop scumbags like this ripping us off?[/p][/quote]Knowingly gave false information and failed to report changes in circumstance, Sounds like the Tory elite and their tax returns and expenses! dropkick55
  • Score: 0

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