Cambourne: Benefit Fraudster Jailed

A woman from Cambourne has been jailed, for claiming £81,000 in benefits she wasn't entitled to.

31 year old Vicky Cooling, from Greenhaze Lane, Great Cambourne, was today (Monday) sentenced to 24 weeks in prison at Cambridge Crown Court.

She is expected to serve half that time behind bars.

The case was the largest benefit fraud case South Cambridgeshire District Council had ever taken to court.

Miss Cooling denied two charges of dishonestly failing to report changes in her circumstances and two charges of dishonestly making false statements to obtain benefit in May and the judge ruled today she would serve four 24 week sentences concurrently.

The prosecution was brought by South Cambridgeshire District Council on behalf of itself, Borough of Broxbourne Council and the Department of Work and Pensions. 

According to South Cambridgeshire District Council, Miss Cooling fraudulently claimed £41,590 in housing and council tax benefit while living in Broxbourne between 2007 and 2011, and £7,956 while living in South Cambridgeshire. 

She was also found to have been overpaid £31,941 in income support and jobseekers allowance from the DWP.

A further hearing will take place in October to decide on confiscation of her assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act to repay fraudulently claimed benefits.

Councillor Simon Edwards, South Cambridgeshire District Council's deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said: "Fraudsters rely on honest people not reporting them but it is important to remember it is not a victimless crime. 

It takes money away from our communities and services and affects us all in some way. 

We take a tough line on fraud and it’s not a question of if we catch fraudsters, but when.

We always encourage people to inform us as soon as possible if their circumstances change and our team of officers are there to help and support people to make sure they only claim what they are entitled to."

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