A man who fraudulently claimed nearly £3,000 in benefits has been ordered by magistrates to repay the money and do unpaid community work.
Alex Bruinsma, 41, of Newfield Street, Sandbach, pleaded guilty at South and East Cheshire Magistrates’ Court to two charges of making false statements in relation to his claims for housing benefit and jobseekers’ allowance.
Magistrates sitting at Crewe (on Tuesday March 25) heard that Bruinsma claimed housing benefit and jobseekers’ allowance on October 15, 2010, on the basis that he was a single person with no income.
However, investigators for Cheshire East Council’s benefit fraud team and the Department for Work and Pensions found that Bruinsma was living with his partner. In submitting the false claims, Bruinsma was overpaid benefits totalling £2,987.
Magistrates imposed a community order on Bruinsma to carry out 60 hours’ unpaid work and to pay costs of £350. A compensation order was also granted ordering him to repay the overpaid benefits.
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: “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 at the expense of honest, hardworking taxpayers.
“This latest court success follows several similar successful prosecutions, which have clawed back tens of thousands of pounds for taxpayers.
“It sends out a clear message that 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 benefit fraud will simply not be tolerated. Offenders must be clear that they will be found out and 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