Benefits cheats warned “we’re coming after you” after two more fraudsters convicted

Council leader Neil Blake
Council leader Neil Blake

Potential benefits cheats have been warned after two people were hauled before court for failing to declare all of their savings.

Aylesbury Vale District Council successfully prosecuted two residents who tried to cheat when claiming housing and council tax benefit, resulting more than £50,000 being overpaid.

William Page, of Chestnut Close, Aston Clinton, claimed council tax and housing benefit despite possessing capital well in excess of the £16,000 threshold for benefits applicants.

The savings of more than £100,000 held by Page meant he had received £22,232 in council tax and housing benefit that he was not entitled to between June 2010 and February 2014.

Page, 57, pleaded guilty to three charges of dishonestly failing to disclose information to obtain benefit. He was ordered to pay a fine of £885, costs of £915 and a victim surcharge of £30.

Elizabeth Lauder, of Manor Close, Stoke Hammond, had £27,000 in bank accounts prior to making her benefit claim in 2010. As a result of her failure to notify AVDC of her true circumstances, she was overpaid £24,101 in housing benefit and £3,706 in council tax benefit and council tax reduction.

Lauder, 38, was fined £200 and ordered to pay £670 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

The council seeks to recover all benefit overpaid as a result of fraud.

Councillor Neil Blake, Leader of the Council, said: “Our fraud detection systems are getting more and more sophisticated which means, as shown by the increasing number of successful prosecutions, that if you cheat the benefits system there is a growing likelihood that you will be caught.

“So, before you make a claim, make absolutely sure that you declare your true financial position. We will continue to track down benefit fraudsters and return their ill-gotten gains to the benefits system so that those with genuine claims are not disaffected.”

Capital is any type of savings or investments. It includes bank and building society accounts, post office accounts, National Savings Certificates, ISAs, stocks, shares, bonds, property other than the home you live in and cash.

For benefits advice, contact the benefits service on 01296 585618 or email: benefits@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk

To report suspicions of benefit fraud, call the district council’s fraud hotline in confidence on 01296 585570 or email benefitfraud@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk