Friday, 15 November 2013

Conditional Discharge Handed Out To Benefit Cheat

A Bassingbourn resident who started work but continued to claim benefits has been handed a two year conditional discharge by Magistrates.

John Costello, 54, of Cambridge Crescent, pleaded guilty to one count of failing to report a change in circumstances that affected his benefit entitlement after being paid £1,795.17 in Council Tax Benefit that he was not entitled to.

Cambridge Magistrates’ Court heard that he had cancelled his claim for Jobseekers Allowance but did not report the change to South Cambridgeshire District Council.

Mr Costello had been offered the opportunity to pay a financial penalty as an alternative to prosecution by Council investigators but after he refused the Council took him to court.

The Magistrates handed Mr Costello a conditional discharge for two years and ordered that he pay the Council’s costs of £405.39, plus a victim surcharge of £15. He has paid back the overpaid benefits.

Cllr Simon Edwards, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said: “The message here is simple; benefit fraud doesn’t pay and anyone committing the crime in South Cambridgeshire will be caught.”

Anyone wishing to report suspicions about benefit fraud should call 0800 7311892 or email benefitfraud@scambs.gov.uk