Whittlesey woman who dishonestly claimed £9,200 in benefits sentenced by magistrates in Peterborough

16:41 04 August 2014

Archant

A woman has been sentenced to 12 weeks in jail, suspended for two years, after admitting dishonestly claiming more than £9,200 in benefits.

She was also told she must repay all the money – and undertake 160 hours of unpaid community work.

Lisa Harris, aged 40, of Newlands Road, Whittlesey, had failed to disclose that she was living with a man while claiming income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit as a single parent.

Over a period of more than two years – from October 2010 until January 2013 – she falsely claimed nearly £5,075 in income support. And between May 2011 and May 2012, she also claimed £3,540 in housing benefit and almost £600 in council tax benefit.

A joint investigation by Fenland District Council and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) revealed that throughout that time she was maintaining a common household with Peter Moore. She had denied living together or being in a relationship with Mr Moore; he was down as a joint tenant only because he was a guarantor, she said.

The lettings agency confirmed that Mr Moore was a genuine joint tenant and not merely a guarantor; it also assumed they were a couple.

Ms Harris pleaded guilty at Peterborough magistrates court to three offences: one of dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances to the DWP that affected her entitlement to income support and two of making dishonest false statements to Fenland District Council in order to obtain housing and council tax benefit.

Magistrates sentenced her to 12 weeks’ custody, suspended for two years. She was also ordered to undertake 160 hours unpaid work and to pay compensation of £3,540.67 for the overpayment of housing benefit.

She will have to repay all the money owed.

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