A CREWE woman who fraudulently claimed more than £12,000 in benefits has been ordered to repay the money and do 300 hours of unpaid community work.
Krystal Latham, 23, of Wistaston Road, Crewe, pleaded guilty to two charges of making a false representation to Cheshire East Borough Council to obtain benefits.
Crewe Magistrates Court heard that Latham had claimed income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit since May 2011, on the basis that she was a lone parent and had no relationship to her landlord.
However, Cheshire East Council’s benefit investigations team and the Department for Work and Pensions found Latham had fraudulently failed to declare that her landlord was actually her partner, who lived with her and had supported her financially.
Clr Peter Raynes, Cheshire East Council cabinet member in charge of finance, said: “We are an enforcing Council and are committed to ensuring these offenders are brought to justice.
“Benefit fraud is simply wrong and will not be tolerated by Cheshire East.
“Since the start of April alone, we have successfully prosecuted 18 people for benefit fraud. This follows our 48 successful prosecutions for such offences in the year to April 1.
“This prosecution, and others like it, sends out a clear message that we will take robust action to protect our communities from those who cheat the system to line their pockets at the expense of honest taxpayers.”
In submitting false claims, Latham was overpaid state benefits totalling £12,274.40 – which magistrates have ordered her to repay in full.
Magistrates also sentenced Latham to carry out 300 hours of unpaid community work.
She will also have to pay costs of £300 and a victim surcharge of £60.
If you think someone is committing benefit fraud, you can ring the confidential freephone fraud hotline on 0800 389 2787.
Alternatively, report it via the Council’s website at cheshireeast.gov.uk