News release from 14/05/2018

Pair who falsely claimed benefits and support fined

Two South Cambridgeshire residents who claimed benefits they weren’t entitled to have been fined after being prosecuted by the District Council.

44-year-old Jamie Lee Roberts, from High Street in Great Cambourne, and 28-year-old Kelly Myson, from Sunflower Street in Cambridge, both appeared at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court last week (Thursday 10 May).

In one case, Jamie Lee Roberts was prosecuted after telling South Cambridgeshire District Council he earned around £20,000 less than he actually did while self-employed during the 2015/16 tax year, to obtain Council Tax support. He also over-estimated his allowable expenditure. These two dishonest statements led to Mr Roberts claiming more than £1,900 in Council Tax Support on the basis that he was in receipt of low income.

However, a Benefits Assessment Officer at South Cambridgeshire District Council observed that Mr Roberts was spending more than £800 a month on luxury hire vehicles, despite claiming this support. Further investigations also revealed that Mr Roberts had holidayed abroad and concealed personal spending in undeclared bank accounts.

Due to the false statements made by Mr Roberts, he claimed £1,922 in assistance from the authority which he was not entitled to. Appearing in court, he pleaded guilty to a total of four offences and was fined £746. He must also pay back the full amount to the Council, pay £455.55 to cover the authority’s costs and pay a victim surcharge of £50.

In a separate case, Kelly Myson was fraudulently claiming Council Tax support and single person discount on the basis that she was a single mother on a low income. However, she did not tell South Cambridgeshire District Council that her partner, who was in paid employment, was also living at her address. As a result, she falsely claimed reductions of £1,416 via Council Tax support between August 2016 and October 2017. Additionally, single person discount of £209 was also paid on the basis that Ms Myson was living as a single person.

The investigation that led to Ms Myson appearing in court began after she indicated to a District Council department, separate to the benefits team, that her partner was living with her. In court, she pleaded guilty and was fined £80. She must also pay £50 to cover the Council’s court costs, a victim surcharge of £30 and pay back the full amount owed.

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Director of Health and Environmental Services, Mike Hill, said: “It’s vital that if you’re claiming benefits, you provide us with accurate, up to date information about your financial and living arrangements. It’s equally important those in receipt of benefits also remember to tell us when their circumstances change. As these two cases demonstrate, we always investigate when there is a suspicion that something is not quite right. If you are up front and honest with us we will always do our best to help you, but we will always investigate when we suspect fraud is taking place.”