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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Benefits cheat ordered to repay more than £25,000 and put under a dusk-to-dawn curfew

 

A woman who fraudulently claimed more than £25,000 in benefits has been ordered by magistrates to repay the money and put under a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

Elizabeth Giblin, 43, of Davenport Avenue, Crewe, pleaded guilty at South and East Cheshire Magistrates’ Court to four charges of dishonestly failing to report a change in her circumstances in relation to claims for jobseekers’ allowance, income support, housing benefit and Council Tax benefit.

Magistrates sitting at Crewe heard (on Friday March 21) that Giblin claimed housing and Council Tax benefits, since September 2003, as a lone parent receiving income support and her claim was later based on jobseekers’ allowance as a single person, from October 2010, following her children leaving the property. 

Giblin commenced self-employment in October 2012, and continued to claim housing and Council Tax benefit as a single person.

A joint investigation into Giblin’s claims for the above benefits by investigators from Cheshire East Council’s benefit fraud investigation team and the Department for Work and Pensions found that Giblin’s partner had joined the household in November 2008, and had been supporting her financially.

In failing to report this change and actively pursuing her claim, Giblin was overpaid benefits totalling £25,087.

Magistrates imposed a sentence of 32 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for two years with a two-year supervision order, along with a curfew for six weeks from 7pm to 7am. A compensation order was granted for recovery of the overpaid benefit payable at £100 per month.

The prosecution was brought by Cheshire East Council’s benefit fraud investigation team and legal team.

Councillor Peter Raynes, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of finance, said: “The message from this latest successful prosecution is clear: people who try to cheat the system and hard-working taxpayers will be pursued by this Council and brought to justice.

“Cheshire East is an enforcing Council and that benefit fraud will simply not be tolerated.

“This prosecution is another clear example of this Council taking firm action to protect our local communities from those who criminally abuse the benefits system to line their pockets at the expense of honest, hardworking taxpayers.

“This case shows that we will catch up with these selfish and anti-social fraudsters and they will be brought before the courts to face 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

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