Benefit cheats told to pay back cash

By Nigel Slater Friday 14 December 2012 Updated: 20/12 12:09

TWO BENEFIT cheats have been ordered to pay back thousands of pounds after being found guilty of fraud.

Kelly Johns and David Haywood were prosecuted in separate cases after falsely entitling themselves to more than £27,000 of tax payers money.

At a hearing at Worcester Magistrates Court on Monday (December 10), Johns pleaded guilty to all charges after it was found she had been paid £10,852 in Housing Benefit and Council Tax and a further £6,257 in Income Support illegally.

The investigation found from January 2010 Ms Johns, who lived in Hudson Close, Honeybourne, failed to declare she was living together with her children and partner at the same address.

Ms Johns later denied previously living with her partner when she was interviewed in December last year.

Her solicitor said she had thought her partner was allowed stay three nights per week under the benefits regulations but this was not the case.

After realising she was wrong, Ms Johns said she was ashamed of what she had done and admitted it was a mistaken view and had not consulted anyone about it.

She was sentenced to a community order for 18 months, ordered to do 220 hours of unpaid work and has to repay all the benefits to which she was not entitled.

Mr Haywood, from Littleworth Walk, pleaded guilty to all charges at a hearing at Worcester Magistrates Court last Wednesday (December 5) after it was found he falsely entitled himself to £8,697 in Income Support and £1,232 in Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.

The investigation found from February last year Mr Haywood had failed to declare he had worked up until June 2011. He also failed to declare he was married and living with his wife from April 2009.

When first interviewed, Mr Haywood admitted to the work but was vague about when his wife had moved in and did not disclose they were married.

Another interview in January saw him admit he was married and admit he should have reported the changes in his circumstances.

The 46-year-old was sentenced to a Community Service Order for 12 weeks, imposed with an immediate 12 week curfew order from 7pm to 7am and ordered to pay back all the benefits to which he was not entitled.

Both cases were part of a joint prosecution initiated by Wychavon District Council and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) whose prosecutors were awarded costs of £100.

Nick Jefferies, head of shared services at Wychavon District Council, said: "We consider benefit fraud to be a serious matter. People have a duty to notify us and report any change in circumstances when it comes to matters that might affect benefit payments, just as we have a duty to protect public funds."

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