Wellingborough men prosecuted for benefit fraud

Wellingborough Council's Swanspool House offices
Wellingborough Council's Swanspool House offices
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Two men have been prosecuted by Wellingborough Council after fraudulently claiming thousands of pounds in benefits.

Both David Payne and Michael Paul had jobs when they claimed the benefits.

Payne, of Owen Mews, was in full-time employment when he received jobseekers allowance, housing benefit and council tax benefit of more than £6,500 between March 2011 and February 2012.

The council launched a joint investigation with the Department for Work and Pensions after information was received that Payne had a job, and he was interviewed under caution at the council’s offices. He was later charged to appear at Wellingborough Magistrates Court.

He pleaded guilty to two offences of knowingly failing to notify a change of circumstances to obtain jobseekers allowance and knowingly failing to notify a change of circumstances to obtain housing and council tax benefit.

On June 25 he was sentenced to complete 250 hours of unpaid work.

Two days later, on 27 June, Michael Paul, of Great Park Street, was sentenced after also being prosecuted for claiming benefits whilst working.

He didn’t declare that he had stopped claiming jobseekers allowance and had started a job, and continued to claim housing benefit and council tax benefit. Attempts to interview Paul were made but he failed to attend any of the appointments and was later summonsed to appear at the magistrates court.

He pleaded guilty to the offence of failing to declare a change in circumstances whilst claiming housing and council tax benefit and was sentenced with a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £200 costs.

Cllr Paul Bell, leader of Wellingborough Council, said: “It is very important that we are notified immediately of changes in circumstances as it can affect benefit entitlements. Benefit fraud costs the honest taxpayer a lot of money, and we won’t tolerate it. Our track record at investigating and uncovering fraud is excellent and we work very hard to catch the people who commit it. We will continue to do whatever we can to prosecute anyone who thinks they can get away with cheating the system.”

David Payne had fraudulently claimed £3,100.90 jobseekers allowance, £2,851.86 housing benefit and £567.52 council tax benefit.

Michael Paul had fraudulently claimed £969.22 housing benefit and £284.05 council tax benefit.

Wellingborough Council will pursue full recovery of the overpayments.