Man pleads guilty to benefit fraud

Ex-councillor charged with fraud

Ex-councillor charged with fraud - Credit: Getty Images/Creatas RF

A benefit cheat who continued to claim council tax benefit after starting work has been handed a two-year conditional discharge.

John Costello, 54, of Cambridge Crescent, Bassingbourn, pleaded guilty to one count of failing to report a change in circumstances that affected his benefit entitlement after being paid £1,795.17 in council tax benefit he was not entitled to.

Cambridge Magistrates’ Court heard he had cancelled his claim for jobseekers allowance but did not report the change to South Cambridgeshire District Council.

Mr Costello had been offered the opportunity to pay a financial penalty as an alternative to prosecution by council investigators but after he refused the council took him to court.

Magistrates handed Costello a conditional discharge for two years and ordered that he pay the council’s costs of £405.39, plus a victim surcharge of £15. He has paid back the overpaid benefits.

Anyone wishing to report suspicions about benefit fraud should call 0800 7311892 or email benefitfraud@scambs.gov.uk