Former Newstead man fined for benefit fraud

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A MAN who falsely claimed almost £700 in benefits while living at a rented house in Newstead has been fined in court.

Scott Williams (29) was ordered to cough up £150, plus £550 prosecution costs and a £15 victim surcharge. He will also have to pay back the falsely claimed benefits.

Williams, who now lives on Toronto Street in Lincoln, was summoned to appear at Nottingham Magistrates Court in December last year and again in January this year. But he failed to attend, so a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Between April and June last year, Williams failed to attend interviews under caution by investigation officers from Gedling Borough Council. He was arrested and appeared at court last Friday.

Williams, formerly of Stonehouse Terrace, Newstead, pleaded guilty to two offences of failing to declare changes in his circumstances which he knew would affect his entitlement to benefit. This meant he was overpaid £694.74, which he must pay back.

When passing sentence, magistrates noted that he had not co-operated throughout, commenting that it was no good to bury his head in the sand and hope things would disappear if he ignored them.

Coun John Clarke (Lab), portfolio holder for finance and performance and also leader of Gedling Council, said: “I hope this case sends out a clear message that if you are claiming benefits, you must inform us of any changes in your circumstances.”

People can report cases of suspected benefit fraud in the Gedling area by ringing 0115 9013996.