Wellingborough woman sentenced for benefit fraud

Wellingborough Council offices

Wellingborough Council offices

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A Wellingborough woman has been sentenced to two months in prison, suspended for a year, after fraudulently claiming more than £11,000 in benefits.

Kelly Ayling, 37, of Flowerhill Drive, Wellingborough, didn’t declare that her partner was living in the family home with her, and continued to claim income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit.

Wellingborough Council launched an investigation with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) after information was received that Ayling’s partner was living with her.

Investigations confirmed she had failed to declare her true circumstances between November 2011 and April 2013.

Ayling was interviewed under caution at Wellingborough Council’s offices and was charged to appear at Wellingborough Magistrates Court.

She pleaded guilty to two offences - one of failing to notify the change of circumstances with her partner to obtain income support, and one of failing to notify the change of circumstances with her partner to obtain housing benefit and council tax benefit.

Ayling appeared at court on Monday (September 9) where she was sentenced to eight weeks custody, which was suspended for a year, as well as 150 hours of unpaid work with a 20-day specified activity and an £80 victim surcharge.

Cllr Paul Bell, leader of Wellingborough Council, said: “It is very important that we are notified immediately of changes in circumstances, such as a partner moving in, as it can affect benefit entitlements.

“Benefit fraud costs the taxpayer a lot of money, at a time when honest people are really feeling the pinch.

“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 those who think they can get away with cheating the system.”

Ayling had fraudulently claimed £4,651.07 income support, £5,724.55 housing benefit and £968.21 council tax benefit, making a total overpayment £11,343.83.

Wellingborough Council will pursue full recovery of the overpayment.