Crawley benefit cheat fined

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A woman has pleaded guilty to falsely claiming almost £5,000 in benefits.

Susan Stephenson, of Bournemouth and previously of several addresses in Maidenbower, dishonestly claimed Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit on the basis she failed to tell the council she had been receiving a private pension since 2008.

This led to an overpayment of nearly £5,000, said a Crawley Borough Council spokesman.

She was charged with two counts of dishonestly claiming benefits and was fined £330, with costs of £138 at Horsham Magistrates’ Court on March 16.

The Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit overpayments will be paid back to the council.

Cllr Peter Lamb, leader of Crawley Borough Council, said: “The council takes false benefit claims very seriously.Social security can only exist when it is based on genuine need.

“We are committed to detecting and prosecuting people who commit benefit fraud. Any claimant whose circumstances change should contact us immediately.”