8:46am Wednesday 5th December 2012
By Richard Catton
A BENEFIT cheat from North Yorkshire has been given an eight-week suspended prison sentence after falsely claiming more than £10,000 while working at a petrol station.
Scarborough Magistrates heard yesterday how Linda Lawson, 51, of Beverley Road, in Norton, claimed housing and council tax benefit from Ryedale District Council, in addition to pension credits from the Department for Work and Pensions, that she was not entitled to.
Her deceptions were eventually uncovered during a joint operation carried out by independent investigation company Veritau and Ryedale District Council.
The local authority said it had received a tip-off that Lawson had been working undeclared – sparking the investigation.
It was also discovered she had been working at a petrol station since 2009 but had not declared this to either the local authority or the work and pensions department.
As a result of her fraudulent activity, Lawson was overpaid £1,544 in housing benefit, £482 in council tax benefit and £8,100 in pension credits.
Angela Jones, business support manager at Ryedale District Council, said: “This sends a clear message that Ryedale District Council takes fraud very seriously and perpetrators of fraud against the council should know that they run the risk of being prosecuted”.
The investigation concluded with Lawson pleading guilty to all charges at Scarborough Magistrates Court yesterday.
She was given an eight-week custodial sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay £100 in costs.
A spokesperson for Veritau said: “This is another excellent result for a serious fraud against the public purse.
“We encourage anyone with any information on fraudulent activity to phone the hotline on 0800 174553 or email firstname.lastname@example.org”
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