Woodbridge: Benefits Cheat Tagged

21 February 2013, 15:31 | Updated: 21 February 2013, 15:42

A Woodbridge woman has been tagged, and ordered to repay over £7000 after she failed to inform the Council of a divorce settlement.

58 year old Lynette Game, of Gonville Close and formerly of Farlingayes, was sentenced at the Magistrates Court in Ipswich this week (Monday) to a three months indoor curfew from 9pm to 6am and will be fitted with an electronic tag. Any breach of her curfew and she will be taken back before the Magistrates.

“In this particular case the woman concerned was initially eligible for support but she then failed to tell us when she received a divorce settlement of over £50,000, which obviously meant that she was no longer legally entitled to receive benefits,” said Siobhan Martin, Suffolk Coastal’s Audit Partnership Manager.

“She compounded that failure to inform us straightaway of her change of circumstances when she was visited by one of our benefits officers a few weeks later and signed a statement saying that she had no money from her divorce. In fact, on that very day her bank statements, later obtained during the investigation, show a withdrawal of nearly £13,000 for the purchase of a car.

“This case should be another stark warning to anyone foolish enough to consider trying to cheat the benefits system. We are committed to rooting out all benefit fraud, taking court action where appropriate and reclaiming what has been paid out,” added Mrs Martin.

The offender also refused four requests to explain under caution exactly what her circumstances were. Because of her failure to tell the Council of her new income, Ms Game gained overpayments of housing benefit of £5,823.15 and Council Tax benefit of £ 1,286.06, a total of £7,109.21 that she has to repay, along with court costs of £150.