St Albans woman fined for benefit fraud

Scales of Justice.

Scales of Justice. - Credit: Archant

A ST ALBANS woman who admitted to falsely claiming more than £5,000 in incapacity benefit has been fined.

Shirley Ansell, 53, of Marshall Avenue, continued to receive welfare payments between April 1, 2010, and May 6, 2011, despite taking up employment as a care assistant.

She failed to notify the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) of her change of circumstances, which would have affected her entitlement to the money.

Ansell, who until that period had been claiming incapacity benefit correctly since July 1998, pleaded guilty to the offence when she appeared at St Albans Magistrates’ Court last Thursday.

Anne Woodcock, defending, told the court Ansell had written to the Jobcentre in Watford to tell them about her new job, but she accepted she should have contacted the DWP.

She said: “It is not a case where the claim is fraudulent from the outset; there is a long period of time where benefits are claimed perfectly correctly. After a long period of time she tried to get out of benefits by trying to get back into work. It was a job and clearly it goes terribly wrong which is what brings her before the court today.”

Ansell was fined £210 and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and costs of £150.