Benefit scrounger lied about dad's death in order to defraud council of thousands

Benefit scrounger lied about dad's death in order to defraud council of thousands

Watch: More benefits fraud as woman who claimed £44k finally busted

GB News
James Saunders

By James Saunders

Published: 03/04/2024

- 09:06

Natalie Newcombe kept up the lie for over half a year until the council finally cottoned on to the scam

A daughter who was looking after her father lied to the council that he was still alive in order to defraud the authority of over £6,000 in benefits, a court has found.

Natalie Newcombe, 35, from Emersons Green in South Gloucestershire, had taken employment as a PA for her dad after he enrolled in a council care plan which let him choose his own carers.

South Gloucestershire Council paid Newcombe for her care work for her father - but when he died in April 2020, she failed to tell them.

The authority said that it approached Newcombe in August that year to check whether she was still supporting her father; she told them she was.

Bristol Magistrates' Court/Emerson Green/South Gloucestershire Council

Natalie Newcombe, from Emersons Green (bottom left) was found to have defrauded South Gloucestershire Council (top left) at Bristol Magistrates' Court (right)


The 35-year-old kept on claiming council money until October 2020; it was only in November that the authority finally cottoned on to the fraudulent activity after becoming aware of her father's death and subsequently axed payments to Newcombe.

Again, the council tried to contact Newcombe on several occasions - and again, she failed to respond.

The fraud was flagged by South Gloucestershire Council’s Internal Audit Team, and was then investigated by the council’s Trading Standards authority.

In February 2021, South Gloucestershire Trading Standards tracked Newcombe down; she then confessed to the fraudulent claims, agreeing to repay the council the £6,507 it had paid her.


Bristol Magistrates' Court

The fraudster was finally ordered to hand back the £6,507 fee at Bristol Magistrates' Court this March


However, Newcombe then failed to pay back the money - in May 2023, she was interviewed under caution and admitted that she knew what she did was wrong.

Newcombe claimed she used the money to pay for her father's funeral - but a fraud charge was levelled against her when she failed to provide evidence to back her claim.

She pleaded guilty, but did not appear at three sentencing hearings - prompting an arrest warrant on March 18 this year.

After Newcombe eventually handed herself in, she was given a 12-week custodial sentence - suspended for 18 months - 80 hours of unpaid work, and was ordered to hand back the £6,507 fee at Bristol Magistrates' Court.

Shaun Fudge, service manager for Trading Standards at South Gloucestershire Council, said: "This result follows close working between the council’s finance officers and Trading Standards team to investigate this matter.

"It's important that the council's limited funds go to those that are entitled to them and where we identify fraud has been committed we will take action to recover any money that has been wrongly claimed.

"A fraud conviction on your record will not be viewed favourably and can seriously harm your employment prospects."

South Gloucestershire Council says it relies on constituents' vigilance to "help us detect and deter fraudulent practices within our local community" and directs members of the public to contact the National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854 440.

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