Benefits cheat prosecuted by Watford Borough Council for the second time

A repeat benefits cheat who didn’t learn his lesson after being caught out by Watford Borough Council in 2010 has again been prosecuted for defrauding the system.

Published: Thursday, 12th May 2016

Alan Grace, aged 35, of Lower High Street, Watford, had been claiming housing benefit from Watford Borough Council while working for a Watford recruitment agency in December 2014. An investigation was launched by the council’s fraud team after a tip-off alleged that Grace was working in the town in centre.

Checks were made with the recruitment agency and it was confirmed that Grace, formerly of Abbey View in the Meriden area, had been working during the Christmas period. He was interviewed under caution by the council’s fraud investigators in May 2015, where he admitted for working for the recruitment agency.

Grace pleaded guilty to an offence under the Social Security Administration Act 1992 at St Albans Magistrates Court on Friday last week. He was given credit for his early plea. It was also mentioned that had been prosecuted in 2010 by Watford Borough Council for a similar benefit fraud offence 

Grace was fined £120 and ordered to pay £250 towards prosecution costs and a £20 victim surcharge – meaning he will have to shell out £390 in total. He also has to repay £120 overpaid benefit back to the Council

Elected Mayor of Watford Dorothy Thornhill said: “We take benefit fraud very seriously. People who cheat the system are stealing from the taxpayer and from those who have a very real and genuine need for the money. Our benefits fraud team works very hard to catch benefits cheats so don’t let yourself become one. If you’re no longer entitled to benefits, please tell us.”

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