Haverhill: Couple Sentenced For Benefit Fraud

A husband and wife from Haverhill have been sentenced after admitting claiming nearly £29,000 in benefits - despite getting new jobs.

37-year-old Mr Lee Martin and 33-year-old Mrs Christine Martin from Garlands Close in Haverhill, were charged with dishonestly failing to give prompt notification in the prescribed manner to the prescribed persons about a change in circumstances affecting her entitlement to a benefit, under the provision of social security legislation.

In 2006 ,Mr and Mrs Martin claimed Income Support from Job Centre Plus and Housing and Council Tax Benefits from Breckland Council, while they were living in Thetford.

On 23 April 2007 Mr Martin started work at ID Technology Group PLC but neither Job Centre Plus or Breckland Council were informed. In May 2008 Mr and Mrs Martin submitted a claim for Housing and Council Tax Benefits to St Edmundsbury Borough Council. On 9 August 2008 Mr Martin began working for Culina Logistics Ltd. On 8 September 2009 Mrs Martin was employed by Tesco Stores Ltd.  Neither the Job Centre Plus or St Edmundsbury Borough Council were informed about Mr and Mrs Martin's work.

On 8 July 2010 Mr and Mrs Martin were interviewed by Benefit Fraud Investigators and admitted failing to declare their work. Both Mr and Mrs Martin stated that they did not notify their jobs because they were in debt, desperate for money and worried about losing benefit.

The overpayments are as follows:

St Edmundsbury Borough Council £5,441.56 Housing Benefit and £1,709.42 Council Tax Benefit.

Breckland District Council £4382.65 Housing Benefit and £1045.67 Council Tax Benefit.

Income Support £16,244.83.

Total combined over payment: £28,824.13.

Mrs Martin received a 12 month Community Order and a 12 month Supervision Order. She must also do 150 hours unpaid work and pay £150 costs.

Mr Martin received a 12 month Community Order, a 12 month Supervision Order and must do 240 hours unpaid work. He must also pay £150 costs.

In addition the couple must make arrangements to pay back the benefits that they were not entitled to.

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