Couple pay the price for benefit fraud

PUBLISHED: 09:06 08 October 2012

Archant

A COUPLE who claimed almost £4,000 in benefits to which they were not entitled have been prosecuted.

Sean O’Reilly, 46, and Joanna O’Reilly, 42, of Alder Drive, Cambourne pleaded guilty at Cambridge Magistrates Court after failing to inform the authorities of a change of circumstances when Mr O’Reilly started working full-time at a Royston hotel in July 2009.

When questioned under caution, Mrs O’Reilly claimed not to know that her husband was working, and instead thought he was making daily visits to see family in London. Mr O’Reilly also stated under caution that he had not told his wife he was working.

An investigation, sparked by a tip-off to South Cambridgeshire District Council, discovered that Mr O’Reilly had been working at the hotel. The couple had been overpaid a total of £3,913 in council tax benefits, which the district council is already in the process of recovering.

In addition, they will each do 80 hours unpaid work, and foot the bill for the council’s costs.

Cllr Simon Edwards, the district council’s cabinet member for finance, said: “Fraud takes valuable funds away from vulnerable members of the community who are in real need of support.

“As a Council we take a hard line on tracking down those trying to beat the system and would urge everyone in South Cambridgeshire to help us tackle the crime by reporting their suspicions. You don’t even need to give us your name.”

To discuss a claim with the district council, call 03450 450 061. To report potential fraud please visit www.scambs.gov.uk/benefitfraud, email benefitfraud@scambs.gov.uk, or call 0800 7311892.

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