A cafe owner in Dawlish has been found guilty of fraud, after falsely claiming £8,713.20 in housing and council tax benefits.
Mrs Harding Hall, owner of the Red Rock Cafe in Dawlish, pleaded guilty after first failing to attend the court hearing.
The court made a 12 month community order with two requirements. Mrs Hall now must adhere to a three month curfew, from 10pm to 6am, with monitoring equipment installed at her home and she will be tagged.She must also complete 90 hours unpaid community work, and pay back £500towards the council’s costs as well as repaying the overpayment .
The court heard how Mrs Harding Hall already owned a property in Worcester, with her son. She took out three mortgages on the property, declaring that she was the sole owner.
However, on 12 occasions, with a view to obtaining housing benefit and council tax benefit, Mrs Hall declared that she was not the owner of any other properties.
As a result, and over a period of time, she received a large overpayment of benefits. Teignbridge District Council promptly brought the case against Mrs Hall having uncovered the overpayment.
Teignbridge District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Customer & Financial Services, Cllr Sally Morgan said: “Fraud is a very serious offence with costs spiralling into millions for both Teignbridge and UK taxpayers each year. In these times of economic hardship it is more important than ever to ensure that those who receive benefits support are those in need, and those who cheat and defraud the system are stopped.”
In the past 12 months, the Teignbridge District Council has brought seven successful prosecutions, five of which were in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions and have administered 54 cautions with 17 fines imposed.
(from a press release)