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Fraudsters must pay back £13k and work 180 hours
A MARRIED couple from Wantage have been ordered to carry out unpaid work after pleading guilty to benefit fraud.
John and Julie Harrison, aged 49 and 44, from St Gabriels, Wantage, were sentenced at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Monday, September 23.
Both admitted dishonestly failing to tell Vale of White Horse District Council information which would have affected their entitlement to housing and council tax benefit.
John Harrison pleaded guilty to not disclosing an account in his name which contained more than £30,000 on January 17, 2008.
His wife admitted dishonestly failing to notify the council that her son had started working and moved out of the property, before moving back in again a short time later.
As a result of their actions John and Julie Harrison claimed more than £13,500 that they were not entitled to between January 2008 and July 2012.
The couple’s actions were brought to an end following checks made by the Housing Benefit Matching Service which verifies details such as income against National Insurance payments.
They were each given 180 hours’ unpaid work and told to pay £250 costs, as well as paying back all the money they wrongly claimed.
Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, Cllr Matthew Barber, said: “Any information that could potentially affect a person’s entitlement to benefit must be disclosed, either when making an initial claim or when experiencing a change in circumstance.
“Failing to do so is likely to result in a prosecution which, as this couple have now found out, could end up costing far more than was ever gained from carrying out such a fraud.”
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