Tag Archives: Benefit fraud

Benefit fraudster receives suspended sentence

A woman from Westcliff-on-Sea is now paying the price for working while dishonestly claiming benefit.

Joanna Needs, 28, of Fairview Drive, admitted seven counts of making dishonest statements to obtain Housing and Council Tax benefit between 2008 and 2011 when she appeared before magistrates in Southend on April 18.

She was given a six-month suspended sentence, ordered to wear an electronic tag to ensure she complies with a 6pm to 6am curfew order and told to pay £100 towards prosecution costs in addition to repaying the wrongly claimed cash.

The court heard that Mrs Needs began claiming Housing and Council Tax Benefit from Southend-on-Sea Borough Council in August 2008 after stating that she and her partner were not working and were in financial difficulties. During the time she was claiming for the benefits she continued to maintain that the couple’s financial situation was poor.

However, a data matching exercise later revealed that she was receiving an income from KPMG Ltd. Checks established that she had been employed by the company from 2001 to 2011 with a monthly salary paid straight into her bank account.

By failing to declare this extra income Mrs Needs received £11,786.01p of Housing Benefit and £1,345.53p of Council Tax Benefit she was not entitled to.

“If you have any suspicions over a person’s entitlement to benefit you can call the Corporate Fraud Investigation Team directly on 01702-215254 or e-mail counterfraud@southend.gov.uk.

“All information received is treated in the strictest confidence.”

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