Benefit cheat falsely claimed more than £20,000

By Connie Osborne Thursday 05 December 2013 Updated: 05/12 12:58

A CHURCH Hill benefit cheat has been ordered to complete 200 hours of community service after falsely claiming more than £20,000.

Debbie Humphries, of Exhall Close, was also handed a 12 month community order at Redditch Magistrates' Court on Monday (December 2).

The 46-year-old pleaded guilty to claiming income support, carer's allowance, housing benefit and council tax benefit totalling £21,813.46.

She falsely claimed the money between December 2009 and June 2012 after failing to declare she was living with her partner and she was also working as a carer at a nursing home.

An investigation was launched by Redditch Borough Council after an anonymous tip-off was received. The Department for Work and Pensions was also invited to join the investigation to uncover the full extent of Humphries' offending.

Magistrates said they had taken into account her early guilty plea and she was ordered to pay £150 towards prosecution costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

The falsely claimed money is being recovered by the council and the DWP through their own methods.

A spokesman for Redditch Borough Council said: "This case again demonstrates the importance of declaring true circumstances when claiming benefit and reporting any changes as they take place.

"Failure to do so will result in having to repay any benefit claimed incorrectly, may also lead to a criminal record and could have an impact on future claims."

Anybody wishing to report a suspicion of benefit fraud should e-mail as much detail as possible to benefitsfraud@redditchbc.gov.uk or call the investigation team on 01527 534011.

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