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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Housing benefit fraudster faces bill for more than £3,700

 

A man who claimed benefit fraudulently while working must find more than £3,700 to make amends after he was prosecuted by Cheshire East Council.

Lee Mooney, 25, began claiming housing benefit in March 2013 while living in Delamere Road, Handforth.

He said he was out of work but investigators from Cheshire East Borough Council’s Benefit Fraud Team found that Mooney had obtained paid employment in June 2013 and had left the property in Delamere Road.

Mooney failed to report these changes and received £3,321 in housing benefit up until March 2014, to which he was not entitled.

He was convicted in his absence by South and East Cheshire Magistrates’ Court on November 5, and appeared for sentencing on November 11.

Magistrates placed Mooney under an eight-week curfew from 7pm to 7am daily. He was ordered to repay the £3,221overpaid benefit as well as costs of £350 and a victim surcharge of £60.

The prosecution was brought by Cheshire East Council’s legal team.

Peter Raynes, Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet member for finance, said: “This case shows that cheating the system leaves perpetrators much worse off. We proactively investigate cases like this to prevent fraudsters taking money away from those who really need help.”

Residents can report people they suspect of benefit fraud by calling free on the confidential fraud hotline number 0800 389 2787. There is no need to give a name and calls are treated in the strictest confidence.

Alternatively, suspected fraud can be reported through the Council’s website at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk

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