A woman who fraudulently claimed nearly £10,000 in benefits has been ordered to repay the money and do 50 hours’ unpaid community work.
Kelly Rowe, 29, of Mayfield Avenue, Macclesfield, pleaded guilty at South and East Cheshire Magistrates’ Court (on July 8, 2014) to one charge of benefit fraud after failing to report a change in her financial circumstances.
Magistrates sitting at Crewe heard that Rowe had claimed housing benefit, Council Tax benefit and Council Tax support since July 2011, on the basis that she was a lone parent on a low income.
However, Cheshire East Council’s benefit investigations team found Rowe had failed to tell the benefits team that her partner had moved in with her and was supporting her financially.
In failing to report her changed circumstances, Rowe was overpaid state benefits totalling £9,789 – which magistrates have she must now repay in full.
Magistrates also sentenced Rowe to a 12-month community order with a requirement to do 50 hours’ unpaid community work. She will also have to pay court costs of £500 and a victim surcharge of £50.
The prosecution was brought by Cheshire East Council.
Councillor Peter Raynes, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of finance, said: “Benefit fraud is immoral and simply wrong. What’s more, it will not be tolerated by Cheshire East.
“We are an enforcing Council and are firmly committed to ensuring such offenders are brought to justice.
“This prosecution, and others like it, sends out a message, loud and clear, that we not tolerate benefit fraud.
“This Council will continue to take robust action to protect our communities from those who cheat the system at the expense of honest taxpayers.”
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