Former traffic warden prosecuted by Watford Borough Council for benefits fraud

A former traffic warden has been convicted of benefit fraud after failing to declare that he had found new employment.

Published: Tuesday, 8th March 2016

Mark Lambert, 55, of Gladstone Road, Watford, continued to claim housing and council tax benefit from Watford Borough Council after he had started work as a traffic warden.

The fraud came to light after a data matching exercise of council benefits records and other information – conducted annually to expose people cheating the council tax and benefits systems. HMRC employment records showed that Lambert had started work on 2 March 2015 as a traffic warden. This information had not been declared to Watford Borough Council.

Lambert was interviewed under caution on 4 September 2015 by fraud investigators at Watford Borough Council. He had been overpaid £1,806 in housing benefit and £291 in council tax benefit between March and July 2015.

Lambert appeared before Watford Magistrates Court on Friday, where he pleaded guilty to failing to notify the council of a change in circumstances. Lambert was fined £40 and ordered to pay costs of £250 and a victim surcharge of £20

The overpaid benefit has to be repaid in full.

Elected Mayor of Watford Dorothy Thornhill said: “We take council tax and benefits fraud extremely seriously here in Watford. For the system to work, those who can afford it have to pay in the council tax they owe, while benefits only go to those in genuine need. We will prosecute anyone caught abusing the system, so make sure you tell us if your circumstances change: Don’t end up in the same situation as Mark Lambert."

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