£500 fine for Council Tax fraudster
A Grove resident has been fined £500 after fraudulently claiming a reduction on her Council Tax.
Zoe Lees, 27, from Horsa Close, Grove, pleaded guilty at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 21 April to illegally claiming more than £3,500 in Council Tax Reduction.
Magistrates heard how Ms Lees had failed to inform Vale of White Horse District Council that her partner had moved into her property shortly after she began claiming the reduction in January 2016. This change in circumstances would have affected Lees’ entitlement, however she continued to claim the discount until May 2019, following checks by the Department for Work and Pensions.
Ms Lees then repeatedly failed to co-operate with council fraud investigators and failed to attend the first court hearing in December 2021. She was subsequently arrested on 20 April 2022 and appeared in court the following day.
Following her guilty plea, Ms Lees was fined £500 and ordered to pay a £50 victim surcharge, she must also now pay all the money that had been wrongly discounted from her council tax.
In court Miss Lees was reminded about ensuring that she read all correspondence in future, and it was clear that the arrest and time spent in custody before the hearing had had an impact on her.
Cllr Andy Crawford, Cabinet Member for Finance at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “If you are claiming council tax support you must inform us immediately if you experience a change in circumstance. If you fail to do so you could be committing a fraud and we will not hesitate to take action.”
If you suspect that someone may be committing Council Tax or benefit fraud, please call the Vale’s confidential 24-hour fraud hotline on 01235 422483