Gainsborough: Man spared jail after £15k benefit fraud

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A Gainsborough man who received nearly £15,000 in benefit overpayments has been given a suspended sentence for benefit fraud.

Thomas Taylor, 56, of Sturgate Walk admitted three charges of housing and Council Tax benefit fraud at Lincoln Magistrates Court.

He received a 12 week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months and was ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work, pay £100 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

Taylor was charged after he failed to declare his wife was in work between 9th March 2009 and 8th March 2012, when he claimed a total overpayment of £14,816.25.

Fraudulent housing and Council Tax Benefit claims in West Lindsey cost taxpayers £106,623 last year and West Lindsey District Council is continuing to crack down on fraudulent claims.

“Fraudulently claiming benefits is a serious offence and unfair on people that genuinely need financial support,” said Coun Sue Rawlins, chairman of the council’s governance and audit committee.

“We would urge people to make sure they know what they are entitled to and inform us of any changes to household or income as soon as possible.”

“The council has a small but dedicated team investigating benefit fraud and we would encourage anyone with suspicions to report these to us,” she added.

Last year, the team received 1,054 referrals for various sources. Of these, 505 investigations were carried out and 140 cases of benefit fraud were proven.

As a result there were 12 successful prosecutions at magistrates’ court, 55 cautions and one administrative penalty.

People can report suspected benefit fraud in confidence by calling the council on 01427 676522, emailing fraud@west-lindsey.gov.uk or writing to West Lindsey District Council, The Guildhall, Gainsborough, Lincs, DN21 2NA.