Fraudsters hit by courts

Two benefit cheats have been prosecuted for illegally claiming over �37,000.

Loraine Furman of The Hornbeams, Stevenage, pleaded guilty at St Albans Crown Court on Friday to fraudulently claiming over �26,000 in Income Support, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. She had claimed to be a single parent while living with her husband.

Furman, who was ordered to repay the amount, was given a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for a year, and ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work and pay �200 costs.

Fellow Stevenage resident, Graham Page of Fieldfare will also have to repay over �13,000 in benefits claimed after failing to tell the authorities he was living with his wife.

He pleaded guilty at Hemel Hempstead Magistrates’ Court on October 4 and was given a 12 month supervision order and ordered to pay �50 costs.

The cases were prosecuted by Stevenage Borough Council’s anti-fraud unit working in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions.

Joan Lloyd, resources portfolio holder at the council, said: “The sums of money involved in these two cases are quite considerable and demonstrate the value of us working in partnership with the DWP. We will continue to make every effort to crack down on those people who claim benefits to which they are not entitled.”

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A war on benefit cheats was declared on Monday by the government minister for welfare reform, Lord Freud. He said reforms to the system would help to target individuals who are collectively costing the taxpayer �5 billion a year.

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