Friday, 22 May 2009

CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE FOR BENEFIT FRAUD

Thanet district Council press release

A former Ramsgate man has received an 18 month conditional discharge, after being found guilty of benefit fraud.

Neil Peter Marshall (43), formerly from Ellington Road, Ramsgate and now from Iwade, Sittingbourne, was in receipt of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit for himself and his wife. He failed to notify Thanet District Council that his wife had found work for South East Kent Ambulance Service in August 2006 and that he had found employment with Service Innovation Group in October 2006.

During the hearing at Canterbury Crown Court, it was established that Mr. Marshall had informed the Department for Work and Pensions that his wife had started work and that there was no dishonesty element here and the charge relating to this was dropped. The full overpayment for both periods of employment was £5,072.11.

Mr. Marshall was then charged with failing to promptly declare a change in his circumstances in relation to his employment and he pleaded guilty to this offence. The overpayment in relation to this was £728.65.

Judge Sullivan sentenced Mr. Marshall to an 18 month conditional discharge. He was also given a compensation order for £728.65 and ordered to pay £400 towards the prosecution costs, to be paid back at a rate of £5 per week.

Judge Sullivan stated that the case highlighted the fact that Thanet District Council was fair in its approach to the case in requesting the charges to be altered to the lesser offence, due to further information coming to light. He also said that it is the customer's responsibility to inform all agencies administering benefits of any changes which could potentially affect their award.

Although Mr. Marshall was only charged with one offence, the full overpayment of £5,072.11 is recoverable.

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