Fraudster told to repay benefits
12:01pm Friday 23rd August 2013 in News
A FRAUDSTER who claimed more than £2,500 in benefits despite owning her own home and receiving income from tenants has been ordered to repay the funds by magistrates.
At Banbury Magistrates' Court last Tuesday, Deborah Cammack, aged 55, of Newcastle Emlyn, pleaded guilty to making false statements to Cherwell District Council in order to receive benefits.
The court heard between May 31 2012 and March 7 2013, Cammack applied to the council to receive £2,301.43 housing benefit and £354.06 council tax benefit while living on the Bicester Caravan Park Home in Chesterton.
However after receiving information from Ceredigion Council, Cherwell's investigation team discovered Cammack owned a £175,000 property in Wales which she was letting to tenants for £625 per month. Upon moving to Chesterton, Cammack had informed Ceredigion Council she was leaving the property temporarily but was intending to return.
However under housing benefit regulations, claimants must disclose if they own and are receiving income from any other property. While Cammack did declare she owned the property, she claimed it was vacant and for sale. In fact, it was being let out.
Cammack told magistrates she made the claims because she had separated from her husband and had been left in debt. She was ordered to complete 90 hours unpaid work, pay £125 costs and £60 victim surcharge. She will also have to repay the overpayment, which she has begun to do.
Cllr Ken Atack, Cherwell's lead member for finance, said: "Anyone who makes a fraudulent benefit claim is not just defrauding the council, but every single honest taxpayer who pays into a system designed to assist those in genuine need. This case should serve as a warning to others that anyone who exploits this service and takes money from us dishonestly can and will be made to repay it in full and receive a criminal record in the process."