Three Fenland benefit cheats brought to justice and face having to pay back more than £50,000 combined

Fenland District Council

Fenland District Council - Credit: Archant

Three benefits cheats have been brought to justice after falsely claiming more than £50,000 between them.

Louise Briggs, 40, of Gorefield Road, Leverington, has been given a 12-month community order and told she must do 200 hours of unpaid work after admitting falsely claiming more than £37,000 in benefits.

Miss Briggs pleaded guilty at Cambridge Crown Court on March 24 to two charges of failing to report a change in her circumstances.

Formerly of Henson Road, Wisbech, she had claimed housing benefit, council tax benefit and income support as a single parent.

But following an anonymous tip-off, a joint investigation led by Fenland Council revealed that from May 2008 she had not been living at Henson Road but had moved in with her partner in Leverington who was in full-time work.

Passing sentence, the judge said that she had been “mean” taking taxpayers’ money and that if it was not for people like her there would be more money for those who really needed help.

Lester Rozario, 51, of Coronation Avenue, Whittlesey, was sentenced to a 12-month community order with the condition that he complete 120 hours’ unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay costs of £1,000.

Most Read

Mr Rozario pleaded guilty at Peterborough Crown Court on March 20 to three charges of failing to report a change in his circumstances.

The court was told that Mr Rozario had claimed housing benefit, council tax benefit and jobseeker’s allowance on the basis he could not work due to ill health.

Allegations that he was in fact working prompted a joint investigation by the council and the Department of Work and Pensions.

That proved that he had continued to claim benefits after starting work as a double glazing salesman. As a result, he had been overpaid £4,360.

Doreen Hooper, 67, of Henson Road, March, was found guilty at Cambridge Crown Court on April 1 of two counts of failing to report a change in her circumstances that resulted in her receiving more than £9,000 in benefits to which she was not entitled.

She was given a conditional discharge on account of her age and previous good character but ordered to pay £500 costs to the council and a £15 victim surcharge

Mrs Hooper lived in a rented property in March and claimed pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit. In 2010 she bought a property with money given to her by her father but failed to declare that capital asset. Her father continued to live there until his death in 2012.

She pleaded not guilty, saying that she had not known she had to report the change and that she had not regarded the property as hers.

But under cross examination she admitted that she had known she owned the property and that it would affect her benefit entitlement.

The false claim was uncovered when the council noted that she was paying the full council tax on the property she owned, but was getting housing benefit and council tax benefit for another March address.

All three claimants must repay all the money they owe.