Two Crawley women sentenced for benefit fraud

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Two Crawley women have been sentenced for benefit fraud totalling more than £15,000.

Zoe Clark, 42, of Abrahams Road, Broadfield and Tane Hersey, 39, of Thirlmere Road, Ifield, appeared at Crawley Magistrates’ Court Wednesday last week (May 20).

Clark pleaded guilty to two counts of dishonestly making a false statement to obtain benefits, said Crawley Borough Council.

She falsely stated she was not living with her husband in her application for Housing Benefit to Crawley Borough Council on April 2 2013 and her application for Income Support to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) on May 5 2013.

She will have pay back £7,802.43 to the council and £3,239.99 to the DWP that were overpaid as a result.

The council spokesman said Clark, who had been receiving the benefit as a couple with her partner, declared they had separated and she was a single mother.

She was sentenced to do 60 hours of unpaid work within 12 months and attend ten sessions at a Woman Support Programme.

She was ordered to pay £40 prosecution costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

Hersey pleaded guilty to one count of failing to notify a change of circumstances affecting her entitlement to Housing Benefit.

She failed to notify Crawley Borough Council between September 2 2013 and May 18 2014 she was living with her partner.

She will have to pay back £4,092 that was overpaid by the council as a result.

Hersey was fined £185 and ordered to pay £85 prosecution costs and £20 victim surcharge.

A council spokesman said Clark was charged after the council and DWP received a tip-off and launched a joint investigation.

Hersey was investigated by the council’s Fraud Team after officers noticed her partner was working but had not been declared as living with her.

Council leader Peter Lamb said: “These convictions, along with other successful prosecutions recently, show how seriously we take benefit fraud.

“While the number of claimants committing fraud is very low we will use all of the powers available to us to catch those who obtain benefits they are not entitled to.

“If your circumstances change tell us; it’s the only way to be sure that you’re eligible for benefits.”

People can report benefit cheats confidentially and free-of-charge 24 hours a day on 08006340180 or email investigations@crawley.gov.uk

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