Benefit fraudsters sentenced

PROSECUTIONS for benefit fraud brought by a local council demonstrate its tough line on con artists, bosses said last night.

Will Clarke

PROSECUTIONS for benefit fraud brought by a local council demonstrate its tough line on con artists, bosses said last night.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council has successfully prosecuted two individuals for failing to inform officers that they were working while still claiming benefits.

Sandra Barton, of St Olaves Road, Bury St Edmunds, who appeared before the town's magistrates last week, did not inform officials she had gone back to work after she was questioned under caution by benefit investigators.


You may also want to watch:


In a separate case Simon Whitworth, of Belmont Court, Haverhill, who was up in front of Bury magistrates at the same hearing, failed to tell the council that his wife had taken two jobs while they were still claiming benefits.

Both Whitworth and Barton pleaded guilty and were each given a conditional discharge, told to pay court costs and ordered to repay the benefits.

Most Read

Paul Farmer, St Edmundsbury member for resources said: “These two cases demonstrate the council's determination to combat benefit fraud. Those who receive benefits to which they are not entitled simply cost other taxpayers more. That is clearly unfair and we will continue to pursue those who are to blame for it.”

Barton, 49, was given a two year conditional discharge and ordered to pay a £150 contribution to costs. She admitted continuing to receive housing and council tax benefit in October 2006 when she started work as a taxi controller.

In November 2006, Barton made a statement to benefits officers over her partner's income but did not mention her own work.

In court on Friday she said that she did not declare the work because she was under a great deal of stress caring for her elderly parents.

However, as a result of her failure to declare her work there were overpayments of £1,514.56 housing benefit and £1,075.50 council tax benefit, which she will now have to repay in full in addition to the magistrates sentence.

Whitworth, 42, was given a two year conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £218.75 after failing to declare his wife, Suhaeti Simon , had two jobs in 2007.

He also admitted that he had been working on a self employed basis whilst claiming benefit and had not declared the work.

In mitigation, Whitworth told the court that it had been a difficult year for his business and that he had been “confused by the system”. As a result of the offences there had been overpayments of £2,994.33 benefit.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus