Droitwich woman prosecuted for benefit fraud

First published in Local

A DROITWICH woman who failed to declare that she was living with her partner, has been sentenced to a three-month curfew order at Worcester Magistrates’ Court.

Amanda Jane Stretch of Shepherds Hill, Droitwich had failed to declare she was living with her boyfriend from June 2011, and had been claiming housing benefit and council tax benefit as a lone parent in respect of the property she rented.

During that time her partner was working, and an investigation by Wychavon District Council determined that Mrs Stretch, then Miss Fisher, had received overpayments of £10.030.43 between June 2011 and April 2013.

When she was interviewed about the matter Mrs Stretch admitted the couple were living together, but said she had told the Housing Association, and had assumed they would tell the council.

Mrs Stretch, who is already repaying the overpaid benefits to the council, pleaded guilty to two charges of dishonestly failing to report a change in her circumstances, and was sentenced to a three month curfew between the hours of 8pm and 6am. She was also ordered to pay £100 towards the costs of the prosecution and a victim surcharge of £60.

Nick Jefferies, partnership director on behalf of Wychavon District Council, said: “Benefit fraud is a crime. People in receipt of benefit payments have a duty to notify the council and report any change in their circumstances that might affect the amount of their entitlement. The council likewise has a duty to protect public funds and this is all the more important in this time of austerity.”

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