Cheshire East Council has secured yet another successful prosecution of two more benefits cheats who fraudulently claimed more than £4,800 of taxpayers’ money.
Both offenders have been sentenced by magistrates and will now have to repay the illegally-obtained benefits in full.
Lucia Chimalova, 34 and Michal Chimal, 35 both of Norton Street, Macclesfield appeared before South and East Cheshire Magistrates Court on 21st July. Each pleaded guilty to one charge of making a false representation to obtain Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.
Magistrates sitting at Macclesfield heard that Lucia Chimalova had claimed Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit from November 2012 on the basis that she was a single person on a low income and needed financial support from the Council to help pay her rent and Council Tax having separated from her husband Michal Chimal.
Chimalova actively maintained her claim as a single person for nearly 18 months before investigators from Cheshire East Borough Council’s Benefit Investigation Team discovered that Michal Chimal had been living with her and providing financial support.
The court was told that Chimal had lived with Chimaolva continuously and that the claim for benefits made in November 2012 was false.
In submitting and maintaining the false claim Chimalova and Chimal pocketed £4801.32 in Housing and Council Tax Benefit that they had no entitlement to.
In addition to having to repay in full the overpaid benefits magistrates ordered Chimalova to complete 180 hours unpaid work and Chimal was sentenced to an 18 week curfew operating from 5pm to 5am daily. Additionally Chimalova and Chimal were both ordered to pay costs of £675 and a victim surcharge of £60 each.
Cllr Les Gilbert, Cabinet member for communities, said: “This is another example of how Cheshire East Council will not tolerate benefit cheats.
“I’d urge people who may be thinking of trying to cheat the system to not bother. You will be caught and successfully prosecuted. There are plenty of ways the Council can support you so please contact us rather than try and cheat the system.”
During this year, 38 people have been prosecuted, 29 issued with administrative penalties or fines and 28 more cautioned for benefits offences and Blue Badge misuse.
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