Benefit cheat from Chorley netted £3.5k
6:00am Saturday 28th September 2013 in News
A woman who was off sick from her job at an NHS trust claimed over £3,500 in benefits she was not entitled to, a court heard.
Sherree Thomas, 37, of Shaw Hill Street, Chorley pleaded guilty at Preston Magistrates’ Court to two charges of making a false statement in order to obtain Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.
The court was told that she made a claim to Chorley Council for the benefits because she was off sick from work.
She said that her entitlement to statutory sick pay had ended and she had no income.
However, Thomas failed to declare on her claim form that she was getting sick pay equivalent to half her normal salary.
Coun Peter Wilson, who oversees benefits payments for Chorley Council, said: “This case came to light through a national data matching exercise between local councils and other government agencies such as the Civil Service and NHS.
“The data match revealed that Miss Thomas was in receipt of sick pay from her employer, a local NHS trust.
“It is very important that people in receipt of benefits provide information that is true and complete and tell the council straight away if their circumstances change.
“As well as having to repay the benefit to Chorley Council, Miss Thomas now has a criminal record and this may have implications for her future employment in the NHS.” Magistrates gave her credit for a guilty plea and the fact she had repaid the overpaid benefits in full.
A six month conditional discharge was granted and she was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £15 and court costs of £75.
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