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Gloucestershire Business News

Tetbury woman spared jail for £46,000 tax and benefits fraud

A Tetbury woman who fraudulently claimed a total of over £46,000 from Cotswold District Council and from the DWP in benefits has been convicted in Gloucester Crown Court.

At an earlier hearing, Tracey Goodfield, 51, of Northfield Road, Tetbury, changed her plea to guilty to three charges of dishonestly failing to notify changes in her circumstances which affected her benefit entitlement.

Goodfield failed to notify CDC that she had moved out of her rented housing association property run by Bromford Housing, for which she claimed housing benefit and council tax support, to live in Bristol with her partner. Her move to work in Bristol resulted in a housing benefit overpayment of £23,031.01 and an incorrect reduction in council tax of £3,869.44.

Goodfield's failure to notify the DWP that she had moved in with her partner also resulted in a total overpayment of Employment and Support Allowance of £19,470.31 between August 2017 and May 2021.

On October 3rd, Goodfield, who has been repaying the £46,370 at a rate of £30 a month since two months before her trial, was sentenced at Gloucester Crown Court to one year in prison, with the term being suspended for 18 months.

The investigation was instigated by officers from the Counter Fraud and Enforcement Unit at Cotswold District Council after it received information that Goodfield was offering her property to let.

Cllr Mike Evemy, Cabinet Member for Finance, said: "As a Council, we have a duty to prevent fraud and I'd like to thank our Counter Fraud team for their continuous hard work bringing people carrying out fraudulent activity to justice.

"The Council provides a range of support for those who are struggling financially, but the funds are limited and we have a responsibility to ensure the correct amounts go to the right people."

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