Benefit cheat gets 150 hours community service

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A 42-YEAR-OLD woman from Towcester has been ordered to complete 150 hours community service after pleading guilty to claiming more than £6,000 in benefits she was not entitled too.

On Friday, April 13, Charlotte Baldwin of Poplars Close was ordered to complete the community service in the next 12 months, repay overpaid benefits, and pay South Northants Council £800 costs after pleading guilty to failing to notify the council about all her finances.

The case was brought to Northampton Magistrates’ by SNC’s benefit fraud team after government computer systems found data that suggested Baldwin had money in two undisclosed bank accounts which would have altered her benefits claim.

Baldwin had been entitled to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit based on low income. The benefit fraud team found evidence that she had failed to declare details of two bank accounts while claiming these benefits. From March 12, 2008 until July 29, 2012 Mrs Baldwin was overpaid benefits of £5,500.46 in Housing Benefit and £881.20 in Council Tax Benefit.

SNC cabinet member Ian McCord said the council was there to help people in genuine need but added: “The council will continue to take action against anyone who tries to cheat the system to get benefits they are not entitled to, which is essentially stealing money intended to help the most vulnerable residents in South Northants.”

Anyone who suspects someone is claiming benefits fraudulently can call a confidential hotline on 01327 322177. To make a benefit claim call SNC on 01327 322140.