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Sturminster Marshall woman found guilty of benefit fraud
2:00pm Thursday 10th January 2013 in News
A STURMINSTER Marshall woman has been found guilty of benefit fraud amounting to more than £13,000.
Melanie Halsall of Churchill Close claimed housing benefit and council tax benefit as a single parent of two children from 2000.
In reality, the 34-year-old was living with her partner and the father of her children, John Souto, and was not entitled to claim benefit.
The fraud came to light following a tip-off from an anonymous informant.
Halsall was sentenced to 180 hours of community work on Friday following a hearing at Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court in November. She will have to repay the £13,140 she fraudulently claimed.
Paul Hudson, head of revenue and benefits at the Stour Valley Partnership, said: “This case goes to show that people claiming benefit fraudulently will be found out. It is not right that council tax payers should have to foot the bill for people who claim benefits they are not entitled to.
“If anyone suspects that someone is claiming benefit fraudulently then they can report it online at gov.uk/report-benefit-fraud or call the National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854 440.”