Jail term for North Common benefit fraudsters
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A South Gloucestershire couple have been jailed for four months after fraudulently claiming thousands of pounds in benefit payments.
Andrew and Lisa Carlisle, of North Common, both received sentences of 16 weeks each at North Avon Magistrates Court on 24 June after admitting to fraudulent claims totalling more than £21,000 between 2010 and 2013.
The court heard that the couple had deliberately withheld income details when they claimed for housing and council tax benefit during 2010.
The couple renewed their claim in 2012 even though evidence later showed Andrew had continued to work as a self-employed builder.
The fraud was revealed following a detailed investigation by South Gloucestershire Council’s fraud team, working in partnership with Bristol City Council.
The investigation found that the couple had taken a number of foreign holidays while claiming benefits intended to support those on low incomes.
Sentencing the couple, the District Judge called the foreign holidays an ‘aggravating factor’ in the case and said the sentence should serve as a deterrent to others considering similar offences.
Senior Fraud Officer for South Gloucestershire Council, Steve Downton, said: “Benefits are provided to help the most vulnerable in society, and anyone abusing that system risks a hefty fine or a prison sentence.
“The clear message to fraudsters is that we will find them out, we do talk to other agencies such as the Department for Work and Pensions and police, and we will prosecute.”
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