Woman guilty of benefit fraud

Banbury Magistrates Court
Banbury Magistrates Court

A woman has pleaded guilty to benefit fraud.

Brooke Collins of Bartsia Road, Bicester, pleaded guilty to one offence of dishonestly failing to notify of a change of circumstances affecting her benefit and one offence of fraud by false representation.

Banbury magistrates heard last Tuesday that between September 2010 and 1 November 29 2012 Collins failed to notify council officials that her partner was living with her.

As a result, she was overpaid a total of £9,3571.71 in housing benefit, council tax benefit and council tax reduction.

Prior to the hearing, Collins had entered into a repayment plan with Cherwell District Council to return all of the fraudulently claimed money and this was considered by magistrates in their sentencing.

She was given a two-year conditional discharge for each offence, ordered to run concurrently and told to pay a contribution of £50 to the prosecution costs and £15 victim surcharge.

Ken Atack, lead member for finance at Cherwell District Council, said: “The benefits system is in place to help people in genuine need and we will take a firm and unwavering approach to anyone who abuses it.”