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Enfield Fraudster gets curfew clampdown

Published Tuesday, 26 August 2014

A woman who received nearly £22k of taxpayers money she was not entitled to has received an eight weeks prison sentence suspended for 12 months, and a two month curfew to run between 8pm and 6am. She was also ordered to pay costs of £550 and a victim surcharge of £80.

Amanda Forrester, 34, of The Chine, Winchmore Hill, N21 appeared at Tottenham Magistrates Court on the 21st August 2014 after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to two charges of failing to promptly notify Enfield Council of changes in her circumstances, and one charge of making a false representation.

The total combined fraudulent overpayment from Enfield Council was £20,264.31 in Housing Benefit, £905.28 in Council Tax Benefit and £589.72 in Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme between 1st April 2011 and 31st March.

Miss Forrester initially claimed Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit from Enfield Council in July 2010 declaring maternity pay from her employer Transport for London (TFL), but suspicion fell on the fraudster after the Council’s Counter Fraud investigators received notice indicating that Miss Forrester had received an increase in her earnings.
Investigators looked into Miss Forrester’s claim to benefit and established that in March 2011 she had declared to Enfield Council she had returned to work and provided wage slips showing she was receiving a net pay of £18,309 from her employment with TFL, however after contacting her employer, investigators established that Miss Forrester had received three separate yearly pay increases which meant that her net pay had increased to £24,097 in April 2011, £31,353 in April 2012 and £32,298 in April 2013.
Investigators also established that Miss Forrester had falsely represented her circumstances in June 2012 when she completed a form to advise the Council’s Revenues & Benefits section that she had moved address. Miss Forrester  ticked the ‘no’ box on the form  in response to a question to indicate that her income through work or other benefits or capital had not changed since she had made her claim. 
In March 2014 she was interviewed under caution where she admitted she had been dishonest in not reporting her true circumstances.
Cllr Andrew Stafford, Cabinet Member for Finance for Enfield Council said “Another fraudster has been caught out, again believing that by not being truthful when their circumstances change, for example when they get a wage increase, that we will not find out.
“The council works with a number of partners to find out when people are not disclosing the truth about their working circumstances, for example income being received or other changes that we should be informed about. Time and again fraudsters are caught because they are complacent.
“Do not get caught out. Advise the council straight away when circumstances change, or you will be looking at a charge of fraud and possible court appearance.”
To report any changes to us for your council tax go to: Link

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