Towcester woman found guilty of benefit fraud
After pleading guilty for failing to notify the council about all her finances, Mrs Charlotte Baldwin (aged 42) of Poplars Close, Towcester was ordered to complete 150 hours of community service over the next 12 months. In addition she was ordered to pay South Northamptonshrie Council (SNC) £800 costs and repay the overpaid benefits.
The case was brought to court by SNC’s benefit fraud team. A government computer systems’ search uncovered data that suggested Mrs Baldwin had monies in two undisclosed bank accounts. This would have altered her benefits claim.
Mrs Baldwin had been entitled to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit based on low income. Officers working on the case uncovered evidence showing that she had failed to declare details of two bank accounts while claiming these benefits.
From 12 March 2008 until 29 July 2012 Mrs Baldwin was overpaid benefits of £5,500.46 in Housing Benefit and £881.20 in Council Tax Benefit.
Councillor Ian McCord, portfolio holder for resources, said: “Where people have a genuine need for benefits of any kind the council is here to help and applicants should contact the benefits team for any assistance they may need with the process.
“However, the council will continue to take action against anyone who tries to cheat the system to get benefits they are not entitled to, which is essentially stealing money intended to help the most vulnerable residents in South Northamptonshire.”
• If you suspect someone is fraudulently claiming benefits please call the council’s confidential benefit fraud hotline on 01327 322177 or you can also report a benefit thief online via the national anti-fraud website.
• If you wish to make a benefits claim please contact the benefits team on 01327 322140 or visit www.southnorthants.gov.uk/632.htm