Fraudster given jail term over benefit claims

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A 28-YEAR-old man who was already on a suspended sentence for fraud was jailed for nine weeks for wrongly claiming thousands in benefits.

Carl Foster was sentenced to nine weeks for committing benefit fraud after a joint investigation between Eastbourne Borough Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Foster, of Bermuda Place, was in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance, housing and council tax benefit but failed to notify Eastbourne Borough Council that he had moved address and was no longer liable for any help with his rent. He also failed to notify the Department of Work and Pensions that he was earning money for work he was doing.

Foster obtained £3,480.13 in benefits between October 2009 to June 2010 and January 2010 to March 2010 which he wasn’t entitled to and will have to pay the amount back in full.

He pleaded guilty to failing to notify the council and the Department of Work and Pensions about a relevant change in circumstance that affected his right to benefits.

He was jailed by Eastbourne magistrates earlier this month to six weeks for the two charges of benefit fraud and a further three weeks for breaching his suspended sentence.

An Eastbourne Borough Council spokesperson said, “This type of fraud will not be tolerated and should not be seen as a way out of financial difficulty.

“We are actively pursuing fraudulent claims because fraud affects everyone within this borough and if caught we will seek to prosecute.

“We ask that every person who is claiming benefits to inform the benefits office of any changes that may affect their benefit as soon as the change happens.

“If you suspect that someone is claiming benefits that they should not be entitled to, do not hesitate to call the benefit fraud hotline by calling 0800 7317039.

“This offers members of the public access to a hotline staffed by investigations officers during office hours and an answering service outside of these hours.

“Or you can check out Eastbourne Borough Councils website at www.eastbourne.gov.uk/benefit-fraud for more details.”