Benefit cheat failed to declare £27,000 savings

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A woman has been successfully prosecuted after receiving nearly £28,000 in benefits despite having £27,000 in savings.

Following the case, Aylesbury Vale District Council is warning people that they must declare all savings when they claim housing and council tax benefit as failure to do so is likely to result in court action.

Elizabeth Lauder, of Manor Close, Stoke Hammond, had £27,000 in bank accounts prior to making her benefit claim in 2010.

As a result of her failure to notify the district council of her true circumstances, she was overpaid £24,101 in housing benefit and £3,706 in council tax benefit and council tax reduction.

Miss Lauder, 38, was fined £200 and ordered to pay £670 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

Another resident, William Page, 57, of Chestnut Close, from Aston Clinton, was also prosecuted for not declaring savings of more than £100,000 when claiming housing and council tax benefit.

He received £22,232 in council tax and housing benefit that he was not entitled to between June 2010 and February 2014. He was ordered to pay a fine of £885, costs of £915 and a victim surcharge of £30.

Councillor Neil Blake, the leader of the council, said: “Our fraud detection systems are getting more and more sophisticated which means, as shown by the increasing number of successful prosecutions, that if you cheat the benefits system there is a growing likelihood that you will be caught.

“So, before you make a claim, make absolutely sure that you declare your true financial position.

“We will continue to track down benefit fraudsters and return their ill-gotten gains to the benefits system so that those with genuine claims are not disaffected.”

Capital is any type of savings or investments. It includes bank and building society accounts, post office accounts, National Savings Certificates, ISAs, stocks, shares, bonds, property other than the home you live in and cash.

For benefits advice, contact the benefits service on 01296 585618 or email: benefits@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk

To report suspicions of benefit fraud, call the district council’s fraud hotline in confidence on 01296 585570 or email benefitfraud@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk