Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Unpaid Work For Benefits Cheat Who Failed To Declare Job

A benefit cheat who failed to declare that she had a job while claiming support has been sentenced to complete 40 hours of unpaid work.

Lindsey Broadhead, 35, of Windmill Close, Bassingbourn-Cum-Kneesworth,  pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to report a change in circumstances and two charges of making a false statement to obtain benefit at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Thursday 18 July).

When she started work in June 2009 Miss Broadhead failed to report the change to South Cambridgeshire District Council and when filling in a benefits forms she did not include details of her work.

The issue was picked up by investigators through the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) – a mass data matching exercise in which the Council submits information from its databases to the NFI and the data is matched against similar data held by other authorities to identify potential fraud and error. Since 1996 the NFI has identified nearly £1 billion in fraud and error.

It was found that she had been overpaid a total of £6,498.58 in Housing and Council Tax Benefits which are now being recovered.

Cllr Simon Edwards, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said: “We’re committed to preventing and detecting fraud and have a very good record for taking action when it is necessary. We rely on the public reporting their suspicions but also have a number of methods to catch people who try to take money out of the system which should be there for the people who really need it.”

Christopher Freeman, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Fraud Manager, said: “It’s vital that changes are reported promptly to ensure that benefit claims remain correct. Failure to do so can result in a large bill for the overpaid benefit and even prosecution. Data matching is a useful tool in finding fraud and error but claimants need to make sure they take responsibility and keep us up to date when any change takes place.”

Suspected fraud can be reported through the Council’s hotline on 0800 7311892 or by email on benefitfraud@scambs.gov.uk.

For more information on the NFI visit www.audit-commission.gov.uk/national-fraud-initiative