Friday, 23 October 2009


A Garlinge woman has been fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs, after being found guilty of benefit fraud.

Joanne Devlin (43), formerly from Birds Avenue, Garlinge, was in receipt of Housing Benefit, based on the fact that she was a lone parent. She failed to notify Thanet District Council that her landlord was also the father of her child, and she was therefore not entitled to claim Housing Benefit for the property. As a result, she was overpaid benefit of £2,412.67.

Mrs. Devlin was invited for interview on five occasions, but never attended these appointments. She also failed to attend court on two occasions and a warrant was issued. She attended the next hearing and pleaded not guilty, electing for trial at the Magistrates Court.

At the trial, she offered no evidence to suggest that the father was not her landlord and the Magistrates found her guilty of the offence of dishonestly making a false statement. The magistrates stated that "it was impossible to believe that, when fraud was suggested, no explanation was given" by Mrs. Devlin. She was fined £1,000 and was ordered to pay £1,000 towards the prosecution costs.

To notify the council of a change in your circumstances, call 01843 577368.

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