A young mum who fraudulently claimed nearly £4,000 in benefits after claiming her partner was only her landlord has been ordered by a court to repay the money – and do 240 hours’ unpaid community work.
The court heard Laura Paulden, 27, received housing benefit and Council Tax benefit after claiming she had started maternity leave, lived alone with her children and was on a low income.
In fact she was in relationship with her landlord, who was the father of her two children, and lived with him during the 17 months she fraudulently claimed benefits.
The relationship was discovered during an investigation by Cheshire East Council benefits fraud team.
Paulden, of Vincent, Street Crewe, pleaded guilty at South and East Cheshire Magistrates’ Court (on February 9, 2015) to one offence of dishonestly making a false application to unlawfully obtain housing benefit and Council Tax benefit between May 2011 and October 2012.
The court heard Paulden received state benefits totalling £3,866 to which she was not entitled.
Magistrates sitting in Crewe sentenced Paulden to a community order with a requirement to do 240 hours’ unpaid work. She was further ordered to repay the overpaid benefits and pay a victim surcharge of £60.
Councillor Peter Raynes, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of finance, said: “Benefit fraud will not be tolerated by this authority. We are an enforcing Council and committed to ensuring such offenders are brought to justice.
“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 really need help.”
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