Benefit cheat received more than £23,000 in overpayments

Benefit cheat received more than £23,000 in overpayments

Francis Batt

Benefit cheat received more than £23,000 in overpayments

A computer check exposed a benefit cheat who received more than £23,000 in overpayments despite having £26,000 in the bank, a court has heard.

Tracy Asbery, 43, of Wyatt Road, Windsor, pleaded guilty last month at Maidenhead Magistrates Court to two offences of failing to tell the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead about her savings account.

At the same court on Friday, Ms Asbery was ordered to pay compensation of £5,000, costs of £300 and given a three-year conditional discharge. The balance of the overpayment will be collected by the Royal Borough’s debt recovery team.

A government data matching exercise revealed Ms Asbery had failed to declare capital of £26,200 in an undeclared savings account when she made her claim for housing benefit in June, 2007.

Overpayments of £23,589.90 in housing benefit and £71.80 in council tax benefit were subsequently paid to her over the four years leading up to April 2011.

Data matching exercises happen automatically, when the Royal Borough's information on benefit recipients is computer checked against money being paid to the government on interest from savings accounts.

The council’s confidential and free Beat the Cheat line for reporting suspected benefit fraud is on 0500 353300.

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