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Harlow businessman Steven Fry fined over benefit fraud

Communities / Thu 22nd May 2014 am31 10:40am

A HARLOW businessman has been prosecuted by Harlow Council for committing benefit fraud after he claimed housing and Council Tax benefit while running a company and having thousands of pounds in personal bank accounts.

Steven Fry (38) of Freshwaters, who pleaded not guilty, was found guilty at Chelmsford Magistrates Court yesterday (19 May 2014) after he did not tell Harlow Council he was a Company Director running a business. While claiming benefit he also failed to declare seven personal bank accounts which at one point totalled over £32,000 and he did not tell the Council his circumstances changed when he got married.

For 19 months (3 October 2011 and 31 March 2013) Mr. Fry claimed nearly £10,200 in benefits (£7,891 in housing benefit and £2,301 in Council Tax benefit) which he has now been ordered to repay to the Council.

Yesterday Mr. Fry also received a Community Punishment Order for 12 months and will carry out 130 hours unpaid work in the community. He also has to pay £1,200 towards the Council’s costs and a £60 Victim Surcharge.

A Harlow Council Spokesman, said: “Harlow Council takes benefit fraud extremely seriously. Claiming benefit which you are not entitled to is effectively stealing money from taxpayers. The Council will always prosecute anyone who tries to take advantage of a system that is designed to provide financial help to those who are most in need.

“It’s important that people contact the Council immediately when their circumstances change as this could affect the benefits they are receiving and they could be committing benefit fraud.”

Benefit fraud can be reported to the Council, anonymously by email: [email protected] or by telephone 01279 446474 or 01279 446655 or online at www.harlow.gov.uk/benefits-reporting-fraud

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