Published on 27th February 2024

municipal offices

A Cheltenham woman, who fraudulently claimed over £7,500 in support from Cheltenham Borough Council and the Department for Work and Pensions, has been sentenced today at Cheltenham Magistrates Court.

At a hearing in November 2023, Abbigayle Cutts, age 42, of Sherborne Place, Cheltenham changed her plea to guilty to three charges of dishonestly failing to notify changes in her circumstances which affected her entitlement to benefits and council tax support.

Miss Cutts failed to notify either the Department for Work and Pensions or Cheltenham Borough Council that she was working full-time in Cheltenham. As a result, she was overpaid £3,939 in employment and support allowance, £3,230.64 housing benefit and £509.70 council tax support between July 2021 and February 2022.

On 27 February 2024, Miss Cutts was sentenced and given a 12 month community order, fined £108, a victim surcharge of £114 and prosecution costs of £85, making a total of £307 payable.

Cllr Peter Jeffries, cabinet member for finance and assets, said: “Fraudulently claiming benefits is a criminal offence. We have vigorous systems in place to ensure that people are claiming fairly and honestly; and as demonstrated in this case, we will take action against those who break the law.”

The investigation was conducted jointly by officers from the Department for Work and Pensions and the Counter Fraud and Enforcement Unit at Cheltenham Borough Council.

Members of the public can contact Cheltenham Borough Council with any concerns about council tax or benefit fraud by email to their shared Counter Fraud and Enforcement Unit at [email protected].

For media enquiries, contact: communications, telephone 01242 264231, email [email protected]