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Windermere woman admits benefit fraud

[A] woman who continued to claim benefits she wasn’t entitled to while concealing money she was earning has been placed under curfew.

Jane Lancaster, age 52, failed to declare almost £50,000 of self-employment income which was paid into an undeclared bank account.

Between July 2013 and  August 2017 Lancaster, of Oakthwaite Road, Windermere, failed to notify South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) about the employment, which would have affected her entitlement to Council Tax reduction.

Magistrates in Barrow (Monday, 15 January 2018) heard that she also failed to declare a bank account that she was using to pay her employment income into.

Over the four years she paid almost £50,000 into the account.

Lancaster was overpaid £3,024 in Council Tax reduction over the period of the fraud.

Following an investigation by SLDC officers she was charged with two fraud offences – failing to declare a change in circumstances that she knew would affect her entitlement to Council Tax reduction and making a false representation on her claim form by failing to declare the bank account her employment income was being paid to.

Lancaster pleaded guilty to both offences. Magistrates ordered that she wear a tag and be placed under a 6pm to 6am curfew for four months.

She was also ordered to repay the £3,024 overpaid and pay costs of £345.

SLDC corporate anti-fraud officer, Katie Booth, said: “She concealed this information deliberately and for her own personal gain.

“This is not a victimless offence. These benefits are provided through public funds to support the most vulnerable members of our community.

“Council Tax payers in South Lakeland have subsidised her lifestyle which, in turn, impacts on the level of Council Tax to be set throughout the district.

“By failing to declare this information she was overpaid more than £3,000 of taxpayers’ money over four years.’’

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