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Fraud conviction after guilty plea

Kevin Snow01st July 2013

A resident convicted of housing benefit fraud will have to repay over £33,000 and undertake a Woman's Specific Order within 18 Months after having her 24 weeks Custodial Sentence suspended for 18 months, after a successful prosecution was brought by Three Rivers District Council.

Mrs Kathleen Callan, of The Fairway in Abbots Langley, failed to declare to the local authority and the Department for Work and Pensions that she had an additional income working as an escort between January 2009 and July 2012.

Mrs Callan submitted a guilty plea on 15 April 2013 at Watford Magistrates Court for the £18,775.96 Housing and Council Tax Benefit along with the £14,537.61 Income Support she obtained under false pretences. She received a lesser sentence for the offences when her early guilty plea and full cooperation was taken into consideration by St Albans Crown Court on 13 May 2013.

Mrs Callan had to pay £250 towards the prosecution's legal costs on top of repaying the full amount of Benefits fraudulently obtained.

Notes

To report a fraud in confidence, please call the Council's freephone fraud hotline on 0800 458 9200 or email us
fraud@watford.gov.uk

Benefit fraud is a criminal offence and, if we think someone is fraudulently claiming benefit, we will investigate that person's circumstances. In certain situations, for example where we suspect third party collusion, we may also investigate the landlord and/or the employers.

If we have evidence that someone is committing benefit fraud we may prosecute the offender or, as an alternative to prosecution, apply a formal caution or a financial penalty.

Remember, if you are receiving benefit yourself it is your responsibility to notify the council immediately of any change in your circumstances that may affect your entitlement to benefit. You cannot assume that other organisations, like the Department for Work and Pensions, will notify us on your behalf.