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Howard and Byrne Solicitors, York - Criminal Defence Specialists

York Housing Benefit Cheat Given Community Order

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3:35pm 18th January 2013

Janet Battley, aged 55 formerly of Salisbury Road, York, claimed Housing Benefit, based on a low income from her paid employment.

The fraud came to light when information was received from the Department for Work and Pension’s Housing Benefit Matching Service which suggested that Ms Battley’s partner was also in paid employment, but his income had not been declared to the council.

During the course of the investigation it was discovered that Ms Battley’s partner had been in paid employment since June 2011.  As a result of not declaring this, Ms Battley was overpaid £2,845.36 in Housing Benefit.

On the 10 January 2013 Ms Battley pleaded guilty to all charges at Selby Magistrates Court and was sentenced to a 6 month community order.

This is the second time that Ms Battley had been investigated by Veritau. The previous investigation in 2011 resulted in her accepting a formal caution for claiming benefits at a property she no longer lived in.  At the time of the initial investigation Ms Battley had the opportunity to inform the council of the increased income in her household but failed to do so.

A spokesperson for Veritau said: “This is another good result in the fight on fraud against the public purse.  It shows the importance of reporting changes of circumstances if in receipt of benefits.  Failure to do so may result in prosecution.  In this case Ms Battley was receiving £477 per month in Housing Benefit that she was not entitled to by not declaring this change.  We encourage anyone with any information on fraudulent activity to phone the fraud hotline on 01904 552935 or email fraud@york.gov.uk

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