Wellingborough woman sentenced for benefit fraud

Wellingborough Magistrates Court
Wellingborough Magistrates Court

A Wellingborough woman has been sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for two years, for fraudulently claiming nearly £14,000 in benefits.

Danielle Holland, 31, of Sassoon Close, was claiming income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit while sharing her home with her fully-employed partner.

Wellingborough Council launched a joint investigation with the Department for Work and Pensions after information was received that her partner, who had a full-time job, was living with her at the then family home in Ashfield Road.

The investigation confirmed that Holland had failed to declare her true circumstances between October 2011 and April 2013 and she was interviewed under caution at the council offices.

She was later charged to appear at Wellingborough Magistrates Court.

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

She was sentenced to eight weeks custody for each offence, to run consecutively, suspended for two years.

She was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £80.

Wellingborough Council leader Paul Bell 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, and it’s simply not acceptable that some people think they can get away with cheating the system, especially at a time when honest people are struggling to make ends meet.

“We have an excellent track record of uncovering benefit fraud and we will continue to prosecute those who commit it.”

Holland had fraudulently claimed £5,511.00 income support, £7,418.96 housing benefit and £1,027.04 council tax benefit, making a total overpayment £13,957.00.

The council has said it will pursue full recovery of the overpayment.