A Croughton woman has been convicted of benefit fraud after illegally claiming £1,300 by telling officials her son was her lodger.
At Northampton Magistrates’ Court on May 15, Elizabeth Moran, of Wheelers Rise, was found guilty of dishonestly making a false statement by declaring she was not related to her lodger.
She was also found guilty of producing false documents.
Moran will now have to repay the money, and was sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work and fined £385.
Councillor Ian McCord, of South Northants Council, said: “The council will always support and help genuine claimants, but takes any form of benefit fraud seriously.
“We hope this case will serve as a warning to others that anyone who sets out to deliberately deceive and effectively steal from the tax payer and law-abiding residents will be investigated, prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
The court heard that between January 5 and June 11 last year, Moran continued to get housing benefit for a lodger who had moved out.
Following investigation, it emerged the lodger was actually Moran’s own son, a fact she had concealed when eventually questioned.
She said her lodger had gone away on holiday and not returned.
Moran knew her son would not qualify for housing benefit if council officers were aware of their relationship.
She provided a tenancy agreement naming herself as landlord, and in correspondence with the council referred to her son as her lodger. She also signed a form confirming she would accept housing benefit on behalf of her ‘tenant’.