City of York Council tackles case of £13,000 fraud

14 Mar 2013 @ 10.32 am
| News

Issued by City of York Council

An investigation carried out by City of York Council has helped to tackle a case of fraud in the city, which almost cheated the benefit system of nearly £13,000.

Mark Hutchinson (aged 43) of Rowntree Avenue, York, pleaded guilty at Selby Magistrates Court on 7 March 2013 for failing to notify City of York Council that he started full time work whilst claiming housing and council tax benefit.

The court heard that Mr Hutchinson started work days after applying for benefit then let his claim incorrectly continue for over two years until the council’s fraud team challenged him.

Mark Hutchinson applied for housing and council tax benefit in 2009 stating that the only income into his house was from his wife’s employment. He in fact began work around the time he applied for benefits and failed to declare to the council that he was in full time employment. Mr Hutchinson also admitted that he had failed to inform the council that his wife’s income had increased, creating a further change to their household income.

Mr Hutchinson was given a 12-week suspended sentence, ordered to undertake 250 hours of unpaid work with a 12-week curfew between 9pm and 5am and received a £4,000 compensation order as part payment of the full debt of over £12,800.

A spokesperson for Veritau, who investigate fraud on behalf of the council, said, “No one must be allowed to cheat our welfare system that is designed to support those in genuine need. Those that try to falsely claim benefits that they are not entitled to will be caught by the systems the council has for detecting fraud.

“Anyone who has concerns about someone committing benefit fraud, housing fraud or council tax fraud in York can call the council’s fraud hotline on 01904 552935 or email [email protected].”

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