Herefordshire Council has successfully prosecuted a Herefordshire resident for serious benefit fraud.
The case against Ann Bean, aged 64 of College Road in Hereford was heard by Hereford Magistrates Court on Friday 18 October. Ms Bean had previously pleaded guilty to defrauding the public purse of nearly £70,000 by falsely claiming benefits over a period of almost ten years, after failing to inform the council of a relationship she had formed with her lodger.
Mike Jones, senior litigator for Herefordshire Council, said: “This is the largest benefit fraud case the council has prosecuted. It is also the largest overpayment that Hereford Magistrates Court has had to deal with.
“Ms Bean knowingly defrauded the council and Department for Work and Pensions of a large sum of money and we hope that this successful prosecution will be a deterrent to others.”
After informing the court of the facts, the council asked the magistrates’ court whether it was willing to pass sentence itself in order to limit further expense to the public purse.
The court however advised Ms Bean that whilst it was aware of her previous good character, clean criminal record and poor health, due to the amount of money involved it was necessary for this matter to be sent to the Crown Court for sentencing.
Ms Bean will therefore be sentenced at Worcester Crown Court on Friday 22 November and in the meantime is remanded on unconditional bail.