Benefit cheat given suspended sentence

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An Ampthill woman has been given a three-year suspended sentence after being found guilty of falsely claiming benefits.

Amy Thompson, 26, of Borage Court, pleaded guilty to supplying the council with a benefit claim form in which she stated she lived alone, which was not true. She had, in fact, been living with her partner, Karl Thompson, something she also failed to declare to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Miss Thompson will have to repay £19,182.91 housing benefit, council tax benefit and income support that she received unlawfully, as well as costs of £640.

Councillor Maurice Jones, executive member for corporate resources, said: “Benefits cheats take money away from those people who really need it.

“This joint investigation with Jobcentreplus clearly shows that we will not tolerate abuse of the benefits system and will take appropriate action against those who do try to make a fraudulent claim.

““While we take a hard line against anyone who falsely claims benefits, help is always available for people who are genuinely entitled to receive financial aid.”

“Our confidential fraud hotline - 0300 3005557 is open 24 hours a day, for anyone who suspects someone might be claiming benefits fraudulently.

“Any residents who want information about paying their council tax or to find out whether they are eligible for council tax or housing benefit can call our money and benefits helpline on 0300 3008306.”