Welwyn Garden City benefits cheat failed to tell authorities of £60K inheritance

PUBLISHED: 12:17 21 November 2018

Welwyn Garden City woman Gillian Morgan appeared in court in connection with benefit claims.

Welwyn Garden City woman Gillian Morgan appeared in court in connection with benefit claims.

Archant

A Welwyn Garden City woman has been given a suspended prison sentence after dishonestly claiming more than £20,000 in benefits over about three years.

Gillian Morgan, 63, admitted dishonestly failing to promptly notify the Department of Work and Pensions of a change in her circumstances, which she knew would have affected her entitlement to employment allowance support between June 27 2013 and May 25 2016.

She also admitted dishonestly failing to promptly notify Welwyn Hatfield Council of a change in her circumstances, which she knew would have affected her entitlement to housing benefit between July 1 2013 and May 25 2016.

In total, Morgan had claimed £20,710.

In both cases, she had failed to tell the DWP and the council about inheritance of about £60,000 that she had received from her mother.

A DWP spokesman told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “The money, among other things, was used to pay for a cruise for Morgan and a friend.”

Morgan appeared at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court on October 31, where she was given a jail term of 20 weeks suspended for 24 months.

The court considered the offences to be especially serious due to the large sums claimed over “a prolonged period”.

Morgan, of Rowans, must pay victim services £115 and £85 court costs.

She must also pay back all the money she dishonestly claimed.

A DWP spokesperson said: “Only a small minority of benefit claimants are dishonest, but cases like these show how we are catching the minority who cheat the system and divert taxpayers’ money from those who need it.

“We are determined to catch those we suspect of fraudulently claiming benefits by following up on tip-offs, undertaking surveillance and working with local councils.”

Anyone who suspects someone of fraudulently claiming benefits can call the National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854 440.

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