A SINGLE mum who claimed benefits while working has been ordered to pay back more than £16,000.
Natasha Jones worked as a nursery nurse while claiming Income Support, Employment Support Allowance, housing and council tax benefits.
A joint investigation by Sunderland City Council and the Department of Work and Pensions revealed Jones, of Byland Court, Glebe, Washington, failed to declare she had being working for periods between February 2006 and December 2010.
This led to over-payments of more £16,000, which Jones has been ordered to pay back.
During a case heard at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court in July, she admitted one charge of dishonestly making a false statement in order to obtain benefit and three charges of dishonestly failing to promptly report a change of circumstances and was given 12-month supervision order. Malcolm Page, the council’s executive director of commercial and corporate services, said: “Claiming benefit that you are not due to is a crime and takes money away from the delivery of essential public services.
“We have a dedicated team who track down, investigate and prosecute benefit fraudsters.
“If anyone in receipt of benefits has any doubts about whether a change in their circumstances will affect their benefit, they should contact us as soon as possible in order that we can pay them the right amount.
“Where anyone suspects someone is claiming benefits they are not entitled to then they should let us know in confidence on 561 1974 or online at www.sunderland.gov.uk.”