Benefits fraud woman from Petersfield hid secret account from council

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MORE than £8,000 in benefits was claimed fraudulently by a woman who said her partner had left her.

Chloe Gale, 36, of Dickins Lane, Petersfield, pretended to have split up with her partner in order to claim more housing and council tax benefit.

But East Hampshire District Council was tipped off and investigators discovered that not only was her partner still living at the property but they also had a secret bank account which was used by the family.

Gale’s benefit entitlement was recalculated and it was established that she had received £5,213.47 of housing benefit, £180.98 of council tax benefit and £2,744.39 of income support which she was not entitled to between June 2008 and July 2009, and June 2012 and June 2013.

A statement from the council said that when interviewed Gale admitted that she should have declared the business account and all of her partner’s income.

In mitigation she said they had been in a volatile relationship and had struggled to manage financially. She said she was very sorry.

She pleaded guilty to offences under the Social Security Administration Act and was sentenced to a 12-month community order, during which time she must complete 100 hours of unpaid work, and she was ordered to pay £25 towards prosecution costs.

To report suspected benefit fraud in East Hampshire call the council’s benefit fraud line on 01730 234182.