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£5,000 bill after three-year council tax fraud

Michaela Stacey, 51, of Palmer Road, Hertford pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud at Stevenage Magistrates Court on December 7.

In a prosecution brought by East Herts Council, the court heard that Stacey had claimed council tax discounts and reductions between 1st April 2013 and 27th June 2017, claiming that she was a single person at her address.  

Long-term partner 

In late 2016 the Hertfordshire Shared Anti-Fraud Service (SAFS), working for the council, received information that Stacey's long-term partner lived with her and that she had not reported this change of circumstances to the council. 

An investigation confirmed that Stacey's partner was in full time employment and had been living at her address with her since at least April 2013 and, although she denied this when interviewed by investigators in 2017, she later pleaded guilty to this in court last week.

Stacey overclaimed council tax support and a single person discounts in excess of £5,000 between April 2013 and June 2017 and she has now made arrangements to repay this sum in full to the council.

12-month conditional discharge 

Following her guilty plea Stacey received a 12-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay the council's costs of £500 as well as a victim surcharge to the court.

Geoff Williamson, executive member for finance, said: "Council tax fraud costs councils millions of pounds every year and results in higher tax bills for everyone. The council is committed to prosecuting fraudulent claimants as this case highlights."

If you know someone who is claiming a council tax discount, or a reduction or exemption they are not entitled to you can report it to the Hertfordshire Shared Anti-Fraud Service by telephone 0300 1234033, email fraud.team@hertfordshire.gov.uk, or by visiting the SAFS website  www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/fraud

 

December 18 2018