Bourn cheater handed suspended prison sentence

A benefit cheat who claimed to be a single parent to falsely obtain over £9,000 in support has been sentenced to 10 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Georgina Morris, 25, pleaded guilty to two offences of dishonestly failing to report changes in circumstances and a further charge of making a false statement to obtain benefits at Cambridge Magistrates Court.

Mrs Morris, formerly of Hall Close, Bourn but now residing in Fox Road, Bourn, claimed to be a single parent but investigators for South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) and Department for Work and Pensions found that her partner had lived with her between August 2011 and July 2012 – causing an overpayment of housing and council tax benefits totalling £5,663 and income support of £3,473.71.

The court ruled that because of the early guilty plea Mrs Morris’ prison sentence would be suspended for two years but she was handed a curfew order to remain in her home between 7pm and 7am for four weeks.

The overpaid benefits are now being recovered.

When interviewed under caution by investigators Mrs Morris denied that her partner had lived with her but after the interview her partner gave a statement confirming that he had been in the household.

Cllr Simon Edwards, SCDC deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said: “Benefits are there to help people in real need when they fall on hard times.

“Every penny falsely claimed takes money away from those in need and this case proves that you will not get away with it for long. If you claim benefits and your circumstances change please make sure you get in touch so we can check what you are entitled to and adjust it straight away.

“It is in your best interests as overpaid benefits must be repaid and you could end up in court.”

For all the latest news see Thursday’s (January 24) Echo.