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Benefit Fraud Weekly Review - 6 October 2014 - 10 October 2014

At Magherafelt Magistrate’s Court, a 25 year old Draperstown woman was sentenced to a 12 month conditional discharge and £34 court costs. The customer had fraudulently claimed £171.80 in Income Support from the Department by failing to notify them that she was working.
A 31 year old woman from Newcastle appeared at Downpatrick Magistrate’s Court charged with failing to inform the Department that she was living with her partner.  She had illegally claimed Income Support and Housing Benefit totalling £18,161.82. The Judge commented that he had taken into consideration her early guilty plea and the pre-sentence report which highlighted her medical issues; she received a sentence of 70 hours community service, 12 months probation and £93 court costs.
In Craigavon Magistrate’s Court three men were convicted this week.
The first man aged 46 and from Portadown had savings in excess of the statutory limit and had illegally claimed £20,355.78 in Jobseeker’s Allowance and Housing Benefit. The customer’s defence highlighted that the customer had admitted his guilt at the earliest opportunity, the money had come from the dissolution of his marriage, he had an alcohol and gambling problem, had repaid some of the money and had a cheque to pay the outstanding amount. The Judge acknowledged that the money would be repaid in full and stated that no one was out of pocket and imposed a conditional discharge for 18 months and £68 court costs.
The second man was aged 21 years form Lurgan.  He had fraudulently claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance totalling £129.83 by failing to notify the Department that he was working. His defence stated that he had pleaded guilty at first opportunity, had no income, got into debt as a student and his parents will pay all money owed to the Department. He received a £150 fine, £15 defendant’s levy, £31 court costs.
Finally, a 33 year old from Londonderry was charged with wrongfully cashing his original benefit cheque; he had received a duplicate cheque on four occasions, which he also cashed when he claimed he had lost the original. He received £513.52 in Jobseeker’s Allowance fraudulently. The Court sentenced him to an 18 month conditional discharge on each offence to run concurrently and £48 court costs.
This brings the total number of convictions since 1 April 2014 to 168.
If you wish to report benefit fraud please refer to the Benefit Fraud Hotline external link page.
If you wish to read about other cases please refer to: News Releases – Department for Social Development external link