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Suffolk benefit fraud cheats revealed

PUBLISHED: 17:59 02 September 2009 | UPDATED: 11:51 06 July 2010

More than 250 benefit cheats in Suffolk have been convicted for frauds totalling in excess of £1m over a two-and-a-half-year period.

Local authorities in the county prosecuted 261 benefit cheats between January 1 and May this year.

More than 250 benefit cheats in Suffolk have been convicted for frauds totalling in excess of £1m over a two-and-a-half-year period.

Local authorities in the county prosecuted 261 benefit cheats between January 1 and May this year. The total value of the housing and council tax benefit frauds came to £1,132,784.

The second highest figure was for Waveney District Council, which prosecuted 56 people for a total of £255,601 - about £20,000 behind Ipswich Borough Council, which had the highest total for claims.

People falsely claiming benefits in the Suffolk Coastal district also broke through the £200,000 barrier, with 27 people being convicted for more than £217,200 in false claims.

In Forest Heath, claims totalling more than £64,000 were recorded and more than £92,000 was over-claimed through St Edmundsbury District Council.

Sue Allen, Waveney District Council's portfolio holder for housing, said: “Waveney District Council works hard to ensure that benefit payments are only made to those actually entitled to receive them. Benefit fraud is dishonest and is theft of tax payers' money.

We take measures to prevent and deter fraud and our dedicated Fraud Investigations Team will actively investigate and prosecute cases. We treat benefit fraud seriously and will investigate any case where fraud has been suspected. We work very closely with government departments and agencies, with whom we routinely exchange data and information.

“Waveney District Council successfully prosecuted a resident receiving benefit as a single parent when in fact she was living with her husband who was working. She received £24,292 in housing and council tax benefit, which she was not entitled to.”

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