Benefit cheat fined for ‘savings’ fraud

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A BARNSLEY woman who falsely claimed benefit despite having £12,000 in an undeclared bank account was saving to begin a new life in Australia.

Janet Butterworth, aged 52, of Longfield Close, Wombwell, admitted failing to inform Barnsley Council of her true financial circumstances at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court.

She claimed £3,463.85 housing benefit and £1,073.32 council tax benefit between August 2005 and July 2010 after only declaring one bank account despite having £12,000 in savings elsewhere.

Barnsley Council discovered her assets using powers under the Fraud Act. Butterworth told investigators she believed she could have £12,000 in savings before it affected her benefits. She pleaded guilty to eight counts of submitting false claim forms.

Butterworth, who had no previous convictions was fined £165 and ordered to pay costs of £320 and a victim surcharge of £15.