Student caught out in benefits fraud

Chorley news for web
Chorley news for web

A Chorley woman who falsely claimed more than £7,000 in benefits has been given a two-year conditional discharge.

Teresa Rutherford, 55, of Buckshaw Hall Close, Astley Village, had pleaded not guilty to two counts of failing to notify Chorley Council and the Department for Work and Pensions that she was a full-time student.

Rutherford was found guilty at an earlier trial and on Friday she was handed a two-year conditional discharge by magistrates in South Ribble, and ordered to pay £200 costs. Action is also being taken to recover the overpaid benefits.

The court heard Rutherford had made a legitimate claim for Income Support and housing and council tax benefit.

However, when she started as a full time student in September 2009, she failed to inform the authorities.

Coun Peter Wilson, who oversees benefits for Chorley Council, said: “Data is collected every two years from local and central government organisations to verify that the right amount of benefits are being paid out to the right people. As a result of this exercise, it was found that Ms Rutherford was in receipt of a student grant and loan. Because she gets a disability benefit, Ms Rutherford was still entitled to claim Income Support, Housing and Council Tax Benefit. However any income, including a student loan, is taken into account in the calculation.”