Former Richmond town councillor prosecuted for benefit fraud

Northallerton Magistrates' Court.

A former Richmond town councillor has been prosecuted for benefit fraud.

The prosecution follows an investigation carried out by Richmondshire District Council which uncovered fraud which cost the public purse over £4,400.

Amanda Adams, 57, claimed Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and Council Tax Reduction for three years.

An investigation into her benefit claims was conducted by Veritau, the council’s fraud investigation service, following concerns raised that she had not declared the full extent of her income.

During the course of the investigation Mrs Adams admitted that she had not updated the council with details of all of her income.

The investigation concluded with Mrs Adams pleading guilty to three charges at Northallerton Magistrates’ Court on March 14.

As a result of her fraudulent activity Mrs Adams received £3,487.73 in Housing Benefit, £474.90 in Council Tax Benefit and £450.80 in Council Tax Reduction to which she was not entitled.

Mrs Adams was sentenced to a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay full court costs of £612.60 plus a victim surcharge of £20.

The court was informed that Mrs Adams had repaid the undue benefits in full ahead of the case being heard.

Councillor Ian Threlfall, Richmondshire District Council’s deputy leader, said: “This is a good result in the fight on fraud against the public purse.

“It shows that ultimately fraud does not pay and that the council will take seriously and prosecute those who try to take advantage of the system designed to support those in genuine need.

“We encourage anyone with any information on fraudulent activity to phone the fraud hotline on 01904 552935 or email counter.fraud@veritau.co.uk”.