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Stone benefits cheat given community order

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: July 05, 2014

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A STONE man has been handed a six month community order after cheating taxpayers out of over £4,000.

Ian Gower of The Fillybrooks, Stone pleaded guilty to not telling the council of a change in circumstances when he appeared before magistrates.

The offences involved £4,049.99 of Housing Benefit and £267.70 of Council Tax Benefit between April 2009 and December 2013.

The offences came to light following an investigation by Stafford Borough Council, who discovered that Mr Gower had received an increase in his income from his job.

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Magistrates in Stafford handed him a six month community order and he was also made to pay a £60 victim surcharge.

After the case on Wednesday July 2, Councillor Ken Williamson, cabinet member for resources at the borough council said: “We are determined to prevent people cheating tax payers out of money they are not entitled to.

“It is unfair on all those people who do pay their dues - and if you do cheat the system you should expect to be caught and could face a prison sentence.”

But he added: “We also want to make sure those entitled to benefits get them so please contact us for information and advice if you are unsure about what to do or what you are entitled to.”

Arrangements are being made for the money Gower received unlawfully to be paid back.

Stafford Borough Council uncovered over £350,000 of fraudulent claims in the last financial year.

Members of the public can contact the fraud hotline in confidence on 01785 619447 or email fraud@staffordbc.gov.uk.

Anyone seeking more information about the benefits they may be entitled to can go to www.staffordbc.gov.uk, call 01785 619478 or email benefits@staffordbc.gov.uk.

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