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Law student falls foul of the law

A law student who failed to declare she was studying and in receipt of student loans while claiming benefits found herself up in front of Thames Magistrates for sentencing on 7 February.

Debbie Callum, 52, of Stewart Road, Leyton pleaded guilty to knowingly failing to give prompt notification to Waltham Forest Council and the Department of Work and Pensions in relation to her Income Support, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit claims.

As a result she was overpaid benefits she was not entitled to between 25 September 2010 and 01 February 2013 to the tune of £15,310.26 and was subsequently charged with violating section112 (1A)(a) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992.

On the date of the trial that took place on 28 November 2013, Ms Callum changed her plea to ‘Guilty’ and was subsequently sentenced to £200 fine, £20 victim surcharge and ordered to pay £350 costs. She is also liable to pay back all of the money she was overpaid.

Councillor Mark Rusling, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Corporate Resources, said, “We work really hard to make sure people in genuine need of support are provided with the benefits they are entitled to.

“However, by the same token we also have processes in place to check that benefits only go to those people in genuine need. There is obviously some irony in discovering that this individual is studying the law, but it’s far from funny.”

If you suspect someone is committing any kind of fraud against the Council or the public sector, contact the Council’s Counter Fraud Group on 020 8496 4299 or write to them at PO Box 193, London Borough of Waltham Forest, Town Hall, Forest Road, London, E17 4JA. All information will be treated as confidential.

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