District fraudsters plead guilty

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TWO MEN from the Horsham district have pleaded guilty to benefit fraud amounting to thousands of pounds.

A 53-year-old from Horsham appeared at Haywards Heath Magistrates’ Court on March 6.

A statement from Horsham District Council (HDC) said: “He was charged with three offences of failing to give prompt notification to Horsham District Council and Department for Work and Pensions of a change of circumstances affecting his entitlement.

“He had started several periods of employment without informing the agencies and this resulted in an overpayment of Jobseeker’s Allowance and Housing and Council Tax Benefit of £3,119.

“He pleaded guilty to all three offences and was sentenced to 150 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay the Council’s costs.

“Horsham District Council will seek the recovery of the overpaid Housing and Council Tax Benefits through the civil courts.”

The case went to court about after a joint investigation by HDC and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Another man, from Storrington, appeared in the same court for benefit fraud on March 13.

The 53-year-old was charged with one offence of knowingly failing to give prompt notification to HDC of a change of circumstances affecting his entitlement to benefit.

He was also charged with three offences of knowingly making a false statement or representation with a view to obtaining benefits to HDC and the Department for Work and Pensions.

The additional HDC statement continued: “He had failed to notify the council that his wife had moved back in with him and had completed benefit claim forms as a single person living on his own when in fact he was living with his wife.

“These offences resulted in an overpayment of Jobseeker’s Allowance and Housing and Council Tax Benefit of £4,797.00.

“He pleaded guilty to all four offences and was given a two year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £200 towards the Council’s costs.”

A confidential Benefit Fraud hotline has been set up by HDC for reports of suspected false claims on 01403 215511.

Meanwhile, the authority is keen to make sure that people get all of the benefits they are genuinely entitled to. For more information contact 01403 215359 or visit www.horsham.gov.uk