By Harriet Ernstsons Monday 04 March 2013 Updated: 05/03 11:07
AN OAKENSHAW woman who fraudulently claimed more than £27,000 in benefits has been ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.
Yvonne Nikola pleaded guilty to dishonestly claiming housing benefit, council tax benefit and income support totalling £27,170.15 between March 2009 and June 2012 by failing to declare her partner was living with her.
Magistrates told the 27-year-old from Northside Close it was a huge amount of money she had taken and they had considered sending her to prison.
But due to her previous good character and early guilty plea they instead sentenced her last Wednesday (February 27) to a 12 month supervision order and 300 hours of unpaid work as well as ordering her to pay a victim surcharge of £60.
Redditch Magistrates' Court was told the money falsely claimed would be recovered by Redditch Borough Council and the Department for Work and Pensions through their own methods.
Coun Phil Mould, responsible for corporate management on the council, said: "This case again demonstrates the importance of declaring true circumstances when claiming benefits and reporting any changes as they take place.
"Failure to do so will result in having to repay and benefit claimed incorrectly, may also lead to a criminal record and could have an impact on future claims."
Anyone wishing to report suspicions of benefit fraud should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call the investigation team on 01527 534011.
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