York sisters prosecuted over benefits fraud

TWO York sisters have been prosecuted for benefits fraud after they failed to reveal they had each received a £37,000 inheritance from their late mother.

Doris Rodd - who went on a six-week holiday in India while falsely claiming money for caring for a person in the UK - and Maria Williams kept quiet about the legacy while pocketing more than £32,000 between them in payments which they were not entitled to.

They were both subsequently investigated by City of York Council and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and have now been punished for the offences after appearing in court.

Rodd, 59, of Coggan Close in South Bank, fraudulently took just over £29,000 in benefits and went on her Indian trip while claiming an allowance for a person she was supposed to be caring for in Britain.

She was charged with defrauding the DWP of £8,626.92 in income support and a £101.10 carers allowance, as well as claiming £17,238.88 in housing benefit and £3,052.73 in council tax benefit which she was not entitled to.

Rodd admitted all the offences when she appeared before York Magistrates' Court and was given a 160-hour community punishment order, as well as being ordered to pay £75 costs. Williams, 64, of Hambleton Terrace, York, admitted defrauding the DWP of £2,184.85 in pension credits and City of York Council of £1,406.28 in council tax benefit when her case came before the same court, and was fined £65 and told to pay £75 costs.

Both sisters failed to declare the £37,000 inheritance they had inherited from their mother. The joint probe into the frauds was carried out by the DWP and Veritau, a specialist company which investigates such matters on the council's behalf.

Another investigation has uncovered a £3,600.44 benefit scam which saw Kevin Parker, 32, of Bramham Avenue, York, fail to declare he was working while claiming housing and council tax benefit and Jobseeker's Allowance totalling £2,818.96 over a five-month period.

His partner Sarah Brigham, 30, also of Bramham Avenue, also did not tell the authorities she was working while receiving £781.48 in Jobseeker's Allowance. Parker and Brigham pleaded guilty to the frauds, which emerged following a tip-off from a member of the public, and they each received a 100-hour community order, as well as being told to pay £500 in compensation and £75 in costs each.

A Veritau spokesman said: "We encourage anybody with any information on fraudulent activity to phone the fraud hotline on 01904 552935 or e-mail fraud@york.gov.uk

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