After an investigation by Watford Borough Council and the Department of Work Pensions (DWP) a former Watford resident has pleaded guilty to four offences of benefit fraud. All overpayments, totalling £11,232.80, are to be repaid to Watford Borough Council, the DWP and HMRC.
Councillor Mark Watkin, Portfolio holder for Democracy and Governance, said: “Benefits are there to help the poorest in society and people who commit benefit fraud are not only stealing from the taxpayer but also getting in the way of us helping the people who really need it. Watford Borough Council does not tolerate benefit fraud and we are committed to cracking down on people who abuse the system.”
Julie Maloney, formerly of Aldbury Close in Watford, neglected to alter her income support, housing benefit and tax credit claims despite no children being in the property. The discovery was made by The Housing Association, during debt collection, who notified the council. In early 2014, during the investigation, she admitted to knowing that she was required to tell both Watford Borough Council and the DWP that her children were no longer living with her. She went on to confirm that she made a false statement to the council on a benefit application in September 2013.
Ms Maloney’s income support and tax credits have been cancelled, back dating to November 2012.
Crown Prosecution Service conducted the legal proceedings. Ms Maloney pleaded guilty at Stevenage Magistrates Court on 1 July, having missed her initial court date due to serving a prison term for an unrelated crime. She was sentenced on 23 July to an 18 weeks prison term with 12 month suspension and £85 fee to the Crown Prosecution Service.
To confidentially report someone who is committing benefit fraud in Watford, phone 0800 458 9200, email firstname.lastname@example.org