Aylesbury benefit fraud woman sentenced
Archived press release
Date Published: 19/03/12
An Aylesbury woman has been prosecuted after claiming more than £13,000 in benefits that she wasn’t entitled to.
Melanie Brown, 34, of Scarlett Avenue, Halton Camp, pleaded guilty to three benefit fraud offences after she failed to let Aylesbury Vale District Council know that she was receiving working tax credits and increased child tax credits. She also failed to declare changes to her earnings.
Between 2008 and 2010, Ms Brown fraudulently claimed housing benefit amounting to £11,396 and council tax benefit of £2,044 while working for AVDC. She is no longer a council employee.
The fraud was investigated by the council’s audit fraud investigation unit following a referral by the benefits team.
As a result of her actions, Ms Brown was given a community order requiring her to do 240 hours unpaid work over the next 12 months and was ordered to pay costs of £250. The fraudulently obtained benefit has to be paid back to the council.
Councillor Neil Blake, Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “We have a zero-tolerance approach to benefit fraud, whether the perpetrator is a member of staff or others. If you commit benefit fraud we will find you out, and we will always seek the highest possible penalty for your crimes. There is no excuse for cheating a system that is designed to help people in genuine need.
“Benefit claimants are regularly reminded that they have a duty to inform us about changes that might affect their entitlement as and when they happen. Failing to do so could result in a prosecution which may lead to a criminal record, and fine, unpaid work or even a prison sentence.”
Anyone with information that can help catch a benefit cheat, should call AVDC’s confidential hotline on 01296 585570.
Benefit fraud can also be reported on the council’s website (www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk). People do not have to give their name and they can be assured of complete confidentiality at all times.