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Suspended prison sentence for benefit fraudster

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Published: 23/02/2012

She was also ordered to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work during the next 12 months, and pay £1,000 costs to the council.

Hayley Toogood, 48, of Cogan Road, Soundwell, Bristol, pleaded guilty to five charges of failing to declare all her income on 18 January 2012 at North Avon Magistrates’ Court.

Toogood had made a number of false statements about her income by failing to report her true earnings from the employer she had declared to the council, as well as failing to declare any of her wages from a further two employers.

However, an investigation revealed she had been employed as a book keeper for all three companies.

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 prison sentence or a hefty fine, as in this case.

“We acted on information reported in the local press. Enquiries established that Toogood had under-reported the earnings from one business and completely failed to mention her other two sources of income. As a result she was paid benefits to which she was not entitled.

“The clear message to fraudsters is that we will find them out and, when appropriate, we will prosecute.”

Toogood has previously been prosecuted for benefit fraud by South Gloucestershire Council for failing to declare all her income.

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