Harpenden mum pleads guilty to benefit fraud

St Albans Magistrates Court

St Albans Magistrates Court - Credit: Archant

A mother of two who received more than £13,000 in benefits after failing to declare £41,000 in savings was sentenced for benefit fraud on Wednesday (17).

Jennifer Williams, 45, of Masefield Road, Harpenden, was handed a 12 month community order and ordered to pay costs of £85 after pleading guilty at St Albans Magistrates’ Court to fraudulently claiming housing and council tax benefit.

Williams received £13,223 in housing benefit and £50.90 council tax benefit after failing to declare the £41,000 in savings she received from a divorce settlement.

The 45 year old would not have been able to claim the benefits if the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which carried out the investigation, had been made aware of the savings.

A spokesman for DWP, Gordon Collins, told the Herts Advertiser that Williams was discovered when checks revealed a computer match with an interest-bearing account containing the savings.

He added that although the magistrate did not order Williams to pay back the benefits fraudulently claimed, the DWP would be taking action to retrieve the money.