Bolsover District Council data crackdown on benefit cheats

Bolsover District Council offices at The Arc, on High Street, Clowne.
Bolsover District Council offices at The Arc, on High Street, Clowne.
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Bolsover District Council has snared two benefit cheats and is cracking down on welfare fraudsters by using a hi-tech data matching system.

The council prosecuted Kim Gibbons, 29, of Olive Avenue, Shirebrook, following an investigation which revealed she had claimed over £3,500 in benefit she was not entitled to. 

She appeared at Chesterfield magistrates’ court where she pleaded guilty to claiming housing benefit and council tax support dating back to July 2013 when she had started working.

Gibbons’s offences came to light after a data-matching exercise showed she had started employment in July 2013 and that her husband had changed employers in May 2014. 

She was fined £200 and was ordered to pay costs of £100 and a victim surcharge of £20 in addition to having to repay the amounts she wrongly claimed.

Gibbons was sentenced contrary to Section 112 of The Social Security Administration Act 1992 and Section 14B (1) of The Local Government Finance Act 1992. 

Another offender was dealt with after committing his second offence of benefit fraud in 18 months.

Ricki Brooks, 27, formerly of John Street, Creswell, appeared at Chesterfield magistrates’ court to face charges of failing to declare a change in his circumstances whilst receiving housing benefit and council tax support.

Brooks pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a two-year conditional discharge and was ordered to pay costs of £100 and a £15 victim surcharge and he must pay back the benefits he had wrongly claimed.

The offence came to light after the council received information from a Department for Work and Pensions’ data-matching exercise which makes matches against Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ tax records. 

Brooks illegally received just under £950 in benefit and support between 26 May and 13 October 2014 after failing to declare he had started secondary employment. 

The decision to prosecute Brooks was made due to him having a previous conviction for benefit offences in October 2013.

He was sentenced under Section 112 of The Social Security Administration Act 1992 and Section14B (1) of The Local Government Finance Act 1992. 

If anyone suspects someone of benefit fraud, they are urged to contact the council on (01246) 242444 or email fraud@bolsover.gov.uk.

In addition, people can also call the DWP hotline 0845 608 8521.