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Benefit cheat fined in court

Date: 24/11/2008           Category: Legal and Property Services

A woman who falsely claimed nearly £3,000 in benefits while living with her partner has been convicted. Cara Arnold, of Maidstone Road, Rochester, pleaded guilty to four charges of failing to notify Medway Council and the Department for Work and Pensions of a change in circumstances. The 25-year-old had claimed £2,181.60 in housing benefit from December 2006 to October 2007 and £705.20 in council tax benefit from December 2006 to December 2007 but had failed to tell the authorities that she was financially supported by, and living with, her partner. Judges at Medway Magistrates’ Court ordered her to pay a £250 fine and £150 costs during the hearing on Thursday, 20 November. Medway Council will also take steps to recover the housing benefit and council tax overpayments. Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Finance Cllr Alan Jarrett said: “This prosecution sends a clear message to everyone that Medway Council will not tolerate benefit fraud of any kind. “It is completely unacceptable and we won’t hesitate to investigate, track down and prosecute those who cheat the system. “I would like to pay tribute to the council’s investigation and legal teams who work tirelessly to make sure benefits go to the people who really need them.”