HEANOR: Benefits fraudster illegally claimed more than £26,000

A benefits cheat from Heanor will have to serve 150 hours of unpaid work after swindling £26,812.72 in false claims

Alison Goddard,51, of Stainsby Avenue, faced three charges of failing to declare she was in full time employment while claiming Income Support, housing benefits and council tax benefit in what Amber Valley Borough Council has described as a ‘substantial fraud’.

The deception took place between September 2009 and April 2012 - but the council was eventually informed of her activities through an anonymous call to the Benefits Fraudline.

She was sentenced at Derby Magistrates Court on Monday, January 13.

Benefits manager at the council Mark Griffiths, said: “This was a substantial fraud, taking place over three years and had it not been for an anonymous allegation, could have continued for several more years.

“We hope this prosecution sends out a clear message that we will work closely with our partners to take action against anyone who tries to cheat and steal from the public purse.”

Goddard pleaded guilty to three counts of benefit fraud contrary to section 111A(1A) and (3) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992. She also received a four moth suspended sentence and will have to pay £100 costs and £80 towards victim support.

The council says ‘substantial’ evidence was gathered during a lengthy investigation and sent to an independent adjudicator who decided that her claim to benefits was fraudulent.

In June 2013 she was invited into the council’s offices to be interviewed under caution, on tape. She admitted to dishonestly claiming.

Leader of the authority Cllr Stuart Bradford, said: “This is another example of someone claiming money that is not rightfully theirs.

“Benefit cheats take money intended for the most vulnerable in our society and the public, quite rightly get angry about such behaviour.

“With the public’s support we are closing in on and catching these individuals.”

Mr Griffiths added: “No one should think that they can get away with benefit theft. Amber Valley Borough Council’s Benefits Investigation Unit and the Department for Work and Pensions Fraud Investigation Service are jointly working together to track down those guilty of stealing money they are not entitled to. With the help of the public, using the Department for Work and Pensions National Benefit Fraud Hotline 0800 854440 or Amber Valley Borough Council’s Fraudline 01773 841466 we are closing in on benefit thieves”.