A benefits cheat has been ordered to pay back more than £7,000 he fraudulently claimed – and sentenced to do 150 hours’ of unpaid community work.
Josef Karicka, 43, of Glover Street, Crewe, pleaded guilty at South Cheshire Magistrates’ Court to a charge of fraudulently claiming Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.
Magistrates’ sitting in Crewe heard (April 17) that Karicka had claimed the above benefits since November 2011 on the basis that he was on a low income.
However, Cheshire East Council’s benefit fraud investigation team found that Karicka had, from the outset, been earning considerably more than he had been declaring to the Council.
These fraudulent claims led to Karicka receiving benefits totalling £7,090 to which he was not entitled.
Magistrates ordered Karicka to repay all the benefit money he had fraudulently received. He was further sentenced to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid community work, pay £250 court costs and a victims’ surcharge of £60. The prosecution was brought by Cheshire East Council’s legal team.
Councillor Peter Raynes, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of finance, said: “Cheshire East is an enforcing Council – and prosecutions like this send out a clear message that will take firm action to protect our taxpayers from those who abuse the system for their own gain.
“Benefit fraud will simply not be tolerated and we are committed to ensuring these people are brought to justice.”
If you think someone is committing benefit fraud, you can ring the confidential freephone fraud hotline on 0800 389 2787. You don’t have to give your name and your call will be treated in the strictest confidence.
Alternatively, you can report suspected fraud via the Council’s website at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk