Ipswich: Benefit cheats falsely claimed a total of nearly £12,000

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court - Credit: Archant

Two Ipswich benefit cheats have admitted making false claims costing the taxpayer a total of nearly £12,000.

Nicole Dilger, of Discovery Avenue, pleaded guilty to failing to notify the borough council of a change in circumstances which would have affected housing and council tax benefit.

The 27-year-old also admitted falsely making a statement on April 15 last year to obtain employment support allowance.

The total overpayments came to £5,634.11.

Prosecutor Collette Griffiths told South East Suffolk Magistrates Court that Dilger had claimed to be a single parent with one child. However, at the time she was living with her partner as husband and wife, while receiving housing and council tax between January 9 and October 7 last year.

Ipswich Borough Council fraud investigators began an inquiry after receiving an anonymous call.

Dilger had previously been in receipt of benefit after she had separated from her partner in 2011, the court heard.

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Investigators undertook surveillance after receiving a tip-off. This included driving by Dilger’s home where officers spotted her partner’s car.

Further enquiries showed Dilger’s partner was paying bills at the address and his employment records stated he lived there when he started work in January last year.

Mrs Griffiths said when Dilger was interviewed she denied her partner lived with her or that they were re-building their relationship.

Sue Threadkell, mitigating, said Dilger had been in a relationship for seven years, but there was a period where she and her partner separated in 2011.

A reconciliation took place and Dilger’s partner stayed at her home, even when they were not in a relationship at that time.

The court heard Dilger did not feel they were living as man and wife, but accepted there were contributions to the household from her partner.

Mrs Threadkell said of her client: “She’s incredibly distressed by these proceedings. Her anxiety state is very high.”

Dilger - who has no previous convictions - is currently paying back what she owes at a rate of £100 a month.

She was fined £75, ordered to pay £100 costs and told to pay a £20 victim surcharge.

In a separate case Jolanta Giedriene, of Cambridge Drive, admitted falsely claiming more than £6,000 in housing benefit over a period of nearly two years.

Borough council investigators discovered Giedriene, who had been claiming she was ill and receiving statutory sick pay from her employer, had returned to work on full pay.

Magistrates gave Giedriene a 12-month community order including 120-hours’ unpaid work. She must also pay a £60 victim surcharge.