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Former Bradford on Avon resident found guilty of benefit fraud
12:07pm Friday 17th August 2012 in Bradford
Former Bradford on Avon resident Nathan Brown, 32, from Long John Hill, Norwich, was found guilty of benefit fraud during a period when he lived in the town and had to pay back more than £2,200.
Mr Brown started claiming Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit from Wiltshire Council on April 21, 2010 when he was living in Silver Street, Bradford on Avon.
He completed an application for benefit and declared his income, which was from Job Seekers Allowance and his partner's part time wages.
He signed a declaration saying the information was true and complete and that he would notify the council if any of his circumstances changed.
Mr Brown failed to notify the council, at the time, that he started full time employment as a bus driver on November 1, 2010.
He went to the council offices on March 29, 2011, where it is recorded he told a member of the benefits team that he started work on March 21, 2011 and he no longer wished to claim benefits.
He signed a Counter Interview Sheet which contains a summary of the information given and a declaration the information he had given was correct and complete.
Mr Brown was interviewed by the council's investigation officers on May 26, 2011.
He told the officers that he still had the money which had been paid in a savings account - in case he was asked to repay it.
His benefit was recalculated and he was not entitled to benefit after his work started - due to his income. There was an overpayment of £1,963 in Housing Benefit and £334.55 in Council Tax
When Mr Brown attended the Magistrates Court regarding the two charges against him for dishonestly failing to declare a change of circumstances and dishonestly making a false statement, he
pleaded not guilty and chose for his case to be heard by a jury at Crown Court.
In Crown Court Swindon on August 15, 2012 his case was heard before a jury.
After being found guilty, Mr Brown was also told to pay £350 costs and given a conditional discharge which is effective over a 12 month period.
Wiltshire Coucil said it is always the responsibility of the person claiming benefit to tell them of any changes in circumstances which may affect their entitlement.
If there is any doubt, then the revenues and benefits team can be contacted on 0300 456 0110 to report any changes in circumstances or to give advice.
Any information that can help catch a benefit cheat should be reported to Wiltshire Council’s confidential hotline on 01249 706256 or the National Fraud Hotline on 0800 854440. Benefit fraud can also be reported on the council’s website www.wiltshire.gov.uk/benefitfraud.