Benefits cheat ordered to pay back £20k

Court news.
Court news.

A benefits cheat has been ordered to repay the £20,000 she fiddled from the system.

Rebecca Bunn, 31, continued to make claims as a single person long after she began living with her partner.

By law, her change of circumstances should have been reported by her as it changed the benefits she was entitled to claim.

Bunn, formerly of Westminster Terrace, Swineshead, and now living in Madryn Walk, Nottingham, denied failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Boston Borough Council when she appeared before Boston Magistrates’ Court on February 27.

She was found guilty and appeared for sentencing on March 13. She was given a 12 month Community Order with a requirement to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work.

The fraud was uncovered following a joint investigation between the DWP and Boston Borough Council.

The departments used their combined resources to obtain evidence which indicated her partner had been resident with her for an extended period of time.

It was revealed that she was overpaid in excess of £20,000 in benefits as a result of the fraud and she will now be required to repay all of this amount back.

This prosecution is the latest in a string of joint working investigations between the DWP and the council. Nearing the end of the financial year, Boston Borough Council has uncovered more than £130,000 of fraudulently-claimed benefits and taken action against every single person involved in fraudulent claims.

Coun Raymond Singleton-McGuire, the council’s finance portfolio holder, said: “Benefits fraud is not a victimless crime – we all end up paying for it. It’s perfectly laudable that residents who work hard and pay their taxes supply information to us about benefits cheats.

“Benefits are meant to be a safety net for those in genuine need – not a bouncy castle for those who want to thumb their nose at the rest of society. For this reason I have now introduced a zero-tolerance policy protecting taxpayers’ money

“And the cheats need to know this – we will get you in the end. The new technologies now at our disposal, together with data sharing really does mean there is now no hiding place.”

He added people should not think they can dig themselves out of trouble by ‘cheating the system’.

Anyone suspecting benefit fraud can report suspicions using the National Benefit Fraud Hotline 0800 854 440.