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Housing and Council Tax Benefit Prosecutions

If you think you know someone who is committing Benefit Fraud we would like to hear from you.

The Council successfully prosecuted the following at Stevenage Magistrates Court on 12/12/2012
Beverly Toleman, 7 West View, Letchworth pleaded guilty to 2 charges of benefit fraud. She failed to declare that she held capital over the prescribed amount. This was a joint prosecution with the Department for Work & Pensions The overpayment of Housing & Council Tax benefit was £8508.42 and the Income Support overpayment was £8275.98. The fraud covered the period from 23/06/07 to 01/1/11. She was prosecuted under Section 112 of The Social Security Administration Act 1992.
She was fined £265 and had to pay £85 costs together with a £15 victim surcharge.
She will also have to repay the overpaid benefit.

The Council successfully prosecuted the following at Stevenage Magistrates Court on 21st May 2012
Miss Julie Bray, 3 Wedmore Road, Hitchin, Herts SG4 9JH
pleaded guilty to 1 charge of benefit fraud. She made false representations in her claim to Housing & Council Tax Benefits. She failed to declare that she was living with her partner and as a result she was overpaid benefits for the period from 04/01/2010 to 26/06/2011. The overpayment amounted to £4614.28 which is already being paid back to the Council. The outstanding amount will be collected via a Compensation Order. The Magistrates also awarded the Council legal costs of £225.00 which must also be paid by Miss Bray. She was prosecuted under Section 112A of the Social Security Administration Act 1992.

The Council successfully prosecuted the following at Watford Magistrates Court on 24/06/2011
Maria Harper, 32 Trevor Road Hitchin
pleaded guilty to 9 charges of dishonestly making a false representation in order to obtain benefits. She failed to declare capital of some £61k both to us and the DWP.
She was charged under Section 111 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992. She was found guilty and sentenced to 150 hours Community Service and had to pay legal costs of £117.50. This was a joint prosecution with the DWP.  She also has to repay the overpayment of Housing & Council Tax Benefit which amounted to £6109.37 and the overpayment of Jobseekers Allowance which totalled £4840.65. The fraud took place between 24/02/2005 and 25/03/2010

The Council successfully prosecuted the following at Stevenage Magistrates Court on 09/05/2011
Mr Belal Ahmed Chowdhury, 76 Woolgrove Road Hitchin SG4 0BZ pleaded guilty to 4 charges of benefit fraud. He dishonestly made false representations since the outset of his claim to Housing & Council Tax Benefits in 2004. He failed to declare that his wife had been in full-time work throughout. He was prosecuted under Section 111A of the Social Security Administration Act 1992.

Following probation reports he was sentenced on 01/06/2011 to 8 weeks imprisonment, which has been suspended for 12 months. He was also given a supervision order for 12 months. He was ordered to pay the Council’s legal costs of £560 in addition to repaying his overpayment of benefits. This amounted to £7813.55.

The Council successfully prosecuted the following at Hemel Hempstead Magistrates Court on 28/02/2011
Stephen Saunders, 87 Kyrkeby, Letchworth SG6 2PG  pleaded guilty to 2 offences of benefit fraud. He had failed to declare a change in his circumstances, namely that he was working as a coach driver. He was prosecuted under Section 112 (1A) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992.


Mr Saunders was sentenced to a 12 months community order to complete 100 hours unpaid work with a 25 day supervision order. He also had to pay £120 towards the prosecution costs. This was a joint prosecution with the Department of Work & Pensions. He has to repay the overpaid benefit which amounted to £4819.00 in Housing & Council Tax Benefit and £8465.76 in Income Support. The overpayment of benefit covered the period from 14/01/08 to 22/11/09.

The Council successfully prosecuted the following at St Albans Crown Court on 17/02/2011
Sharon Simms, 96 Hardy Close, Hitchin SG4 0DN was found guilty of 8 offences of benefit fraud. She dishonestly made false representations in her claims to benefits, namely that she failed to declare that she was living with Marvin Patterson as husband and wife. She was prosecuted under Section 111A of the Social Security Administration Act 1992. For the 8 offences, Miss Simms was sentenced to 28 weeks imprisonment suspended for 2 years and has to complete 120 hours of unpaid work.


This was a joint prosecution with the Department of Work & Pensions. She has to repay the overpaid benefit which amounted to £13,609.84 in Housing & Council Tax Benefit and £13,890.66 in Income Support. The overpayment of benefit covered the period from 13/01/05 to 27/07/08.

The Council successfully prosecuted the following at Hemel Hempstead Magistrates Court on 08/02/2011.
Francesca Bracey and Sam Buggins both of 94 Hine Way, Hitchin, Herts SG5 2SN pleaded guilty to benefit fraud. The offence under Section 111 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 was failing to declare a change in circumstances. In this case they had failed to declare that they had been living together as man and wife. This was a joint prosecution with the Department of Work & Pensions.


Francesca Bracey was sentenced to a 12 months Community Order during which she has to complete 40 hours of unpaid work. She also had to contribute £100 to the prosecution costs.


Sam Buggins was also sentenced to a 12 months Community Order and has to complete 60 hours of unpaid work. He had to contribute costs of £117.50 to both North Hertfordshire District Council and the Dept. of Work & Pensions.


The overpaid benefits must also be paid back and this amounted to £1517.77 in Housing & Council Tax Benefits and £1629.62 in Jobseekers Allowance. The period of the fraud covered 08/06/09 – 04/10/09.

The Council successfully prosecuted the following at St Albans Crown Court on 20/12/2010
Michael Atha, 92 Hine Way, Hitchin SG5 2SN
pleaded guilty to two offences of benefit fraud. He dishonestly failed to declare capital of £110,000 on his claims for Housing & Council Tax Benefit and Income Support and he was prosecuted under Section 111 of the Social Security  Administration Act 1992.


This was a joint prosecution with the Department of Work & Pensions. Mr Atha was sentenced to 26 weeks imprisonment which was suspended for 18 months. He was also given a 3 month curfew order from Thursdays to Sundays (9pm to 6am) and was electronically tagged.


He has to pay back his overpaid benefit which amounted to £14,572.18 Housing & Council Tax Benefit and £4,589.58 Income Support. The fraud was perpetrated over the period 31/01/2005 – 01/02/2009.

The Council successfully prosecuted the following at Stevenage Magistrates Court on 6/12/2010
Donna Brown of 19 North Place, Hitchin SG5 2NW
who pleaded guilty to 2 offences of benefit fraud. She dishonestly failed to notify a change in her circumstances, namely that she failed to declare her partner was working and in receipt of earnings. This resulted in an overpayment of Housing Benefit in the sum of £8295.98 and Council Tax Benefit in the sum of £2675.90 covering the period from 09/07/07 to 07/03/10.

Following probation reports she was sentenced on 29/12/10 at the same Court to 20 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months. She also has to complete 200 hours unpaid work under supervision and she has to contribute £500 towards the Council’s legal costs. This is in addition to repaying her overpayment of benefit.

The Council successfully prosecuted the following at St Albans Crown Court 02/07/2010.
Kathleen Winson, also known as Smith, 6 Muirhead Way, Knebworth SG3 6BY was convicted of benefit fraud in a joint prosecution with the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP). She pleaded guilty to 15 charges of benefit fraud. The offences were dishonestly obtaining benefits to which she was not entitled. She was sentenced to 9 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months, 200 hours unpaid work and a supervision order for 9 months. The total overpayment was £56,335.28 for the period from 06/04/1998 to 28/09/2008.


This case arose from undeclared capital of some £180,000 which will be the subject of a confiscation hearing in November under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. At this hearing the debt to the DWP and North Hertfordshire District Council should be repaid in full.

The Council successfully prosecuted the following at Watford Magistrates Court on 17/05/2010
Husband and wife Robert and Damara Osborne of 89 Hillbrow, Letchworth SG6 4RF were convicted of benefit fraud. Robert Osborne pleaded guilty to 7 charges of making false representation and dishonestly obtaining money transfers. Damara Osborne pleaded guilty to 4 charges of making false representations. They had both failed to declare to the authorities that they had been working since 2005. This was a joint prosecution by North Hertfordshire District Council and the Deptartment for Work & Pensions.


Robert Osborne was given a 2 year Community Service Order to complete 200 hours of unpaid work. He also had to pay £200 towards the prosecution legal costs.


Damara Osborne was given a 2 year Community Order with supervision and she had to pay £100 legal costs. They also have to repay the overpaid benefits of £17,273.84.

The Council successfully prosecuted the following at Stevenage Magistrates Court on 08/03/2010
Deborah Swale, 99 Ridge Avenue, Letchworth SG6 1QF pleaded guilty to one charge of benefit fraud. She failed to declare a change in her circumstances, namely that her entitlement to Jobseekers Allowance had ceased. She was convicted under Section 112 (1A) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992. She was fined £280 plus £15 victim surcharge and also has to pay £624.47 towards the Council’s legal costs. This is all in addition to the overpaid Housing & Council Tax Benefit of £1638.55 which she also has to repay

The Council successfully prosecuted the following at Stevenage Magistrates Court on 12/02/10
Maria Crouch, c/o 71 Bingen Road, Hitchin Herts SG5 2PR pleaded guilty to 2 charges of benefit fraud. She dishonestly failed to declare savings in excess of £30,000 whilst claiming Housing Benefit for the period 03/12/07 to 02/11/08. She was convicted under Section 111A (1)(a) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992. She was fined £125 plus £15 victims surcharge and had to pay £470 towards the Council’s legal costs. She also has to repay £2588.57 overpaid Housing Benefit.

The Council successfully prosecuted the following at Hatfield Remand Magistrates Court on 12/02/10
Melanie Woelkert, 20 Horatio St. Roker, Sunderland SR6 0NJ (previously of 36, Sunnyside Rd Hitchin). She pleaded guilty to failing to declare promptly a change in her circumstances, namely that she had left her Hitchin address. She was arrested in Sunderland on an outstanding warrant and brought back to Hertfordshire. She pleaded guilty to dishonesty and was convicted under Section 111A (1)(a) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992. She was ordered to do 80 hours of unpaid work in the community within 12 months and had to pay £788 towards the Council’s legal costs. She must also repay £2484:71 overpaid benefit for the period 27/03/06 to 14/01/07

All of these cases were prosecuted under Section 112 (1A) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992.

If you think you know someone who is committing Benefit Fraud we would like to hear from you.