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Benefit cheat's landlord was his mum
A MAN has been told to do 130 hours of unpaid work after wrongly claiming more than £3,500 in housing benefit.
James Ham, 35, from Wallingford, signed two declaration forms telling South Oxfordshire District Council that he was not related to his landlord.
But when he made his first claim in August 2009 his landlord had been his mother, and when he signed another statement in April 2012 his landlord was his stepfather.
As a result of his false declarations Ham claimed more than £3,500 in benefits he was not entitled to, between August 2009 and April 2012.
Ham, of Norries Drive, admitted two charges of dishonestly making a false statement at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Monday, August 12.
Magistrates told him to pay all the benefit money back and ordered him to do 130 hours’ unpaid work, and pay £250 in costs, with a £60 victims’ surcharge.
David Dodds, cabinet member for finance at South Oxfordshire District Council, said the guidelines on claiming benefits were “very clear”. He said: “When people apply for benefits the guidelines are very clear about what you need to declare, including about how the people you live with, or are related to, may affect your entitlement.
“It’s imperative that any declarations are made honestly and you inform us immediately if you experience a change in circumstance.”