Court Fines Benefit Cheat

A man who was paid more than £4,000 in benefits he was not entitled to was fined at court on Thursday (28 April).

Hertsmere Borough Council brought a prosecution against Lee Lyons, aged 30, of 27 Osprey Close, Falcon Way, Watford, an address within the borough’s jurisdiction.

Lyons appeared at Watford Magistrates Court which heard that he had claimed housing and council tax benefit on the basis that he was unemployed and claiming jobseekers allowance. As a result he was awarded fortnightly housing benefit payments of £260.76.

However an investigation by the council found that he had stopped receiving jobseekers allowance in April 2010 but had not told the council about his change of circumstances.

In November 2010 Lyons was interviewed under caution by council officers and acknowledged that his claim for jobseekers allowance had ceased when he had started full-time work in April 2010. This change in circumstances resulted in Lyons being overpaid benefits totalling £4,277.74.

Lyons pleaded guilty to an offence under the Social Security Administration Act 1992 of failing to provide prompt notification when his circumstances changed. The court fined him £500 and further ordered that he pay £400 towards the council’s prosecution costs. Lyons will also have to repay the full amount that he was overpaid.

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