This news item is over 3 months old and has been archived.
Benefit fraudster jailed for 15 months
fraudster has been jailed for 15 months at York Crown Court
following an investigation by Scarborough Borough Council’s
The court heard that Elaine Hetherington,
53, of Colescliffe Crescent in Scarborough, falsely claimed nearly
£100,000 in Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and Income
Support, having lied on a succession of forms since July 1995.
Hetherington, who pleaded guilty to nine
charges relating to dishonestly claiming the cash, posed as a
single parent, hiding the fact her husband lived with her and was
Sentencing her to 15 months in jail at York
Crown Court, Recorder Deborah Sherwin said Hetherington had claimed
falsely from the outset and had continued the offence for more than
She said she could not suspend the sentence
because of the length of time of the fraud and the amount involved.
Mrs Recorder Sherwin also told the court that other people struggle
on a low income and with health problems but they do not resort to
crimes like this.
This is the latest success for the
council’s Fraud Investigation Team and legal team who work together
to bring the prosecutions.
A spokesperson from the council’s
counter-fraud team said: “We have brought several cases recently
where we have worked jointly with the Department for Work and
Pensions investigation team.
“These are big cases and their success is a
testament to a strong commitment to working together. Many would
not have come to court if the council had not undertaken the
prosecution. The council’s legal team also gives us the local
expertise and flexibility we need to get the right results when a
case comes to court.”
The council’s Head of Finance and Asset
Management, Nick Edwards, said: “The council brought this case to
prosecution because of the huge amount of public money that has
“This person’s claim was never an honest
one and this dishonesty continued for more than 10 years. There is
a clear moral duty to investigate benefit fraud. This crime is
committed against local residents, as it reduces the money
available for projects that support the local community and takes
funds away from people who most need them.”
Anyone suspecting fraud can call the free
fraud hotline on 0800 0568154.