A woman has been ordered to pay more than £4,000 after she fraudulently claimed a reduction on her council tax.

Zoe Lees, 27, from Horsa Close, Grove, pleaded guilty at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Thursday April 21 to illegally claiming more than £3,500 in Council Tax Reduction.

Magistrates heard how Lees had failed to inform Vale of White Horse District Council that her partner had moved into her property shortly after she began claiming the reduction in January 2016. 

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This change in circumstances would have affected Lees’ entitlement, however she continued to claim the discount until May 2019, following checks by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Lees then repeatedly failed to co-operate with council fraud investigators and failed to attend the first court hearing in December 2021. 

She was arrested on April 20, 2022 and appeared in court the following day.

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She was fined £500, ordered to pay a £50 victim surcharge and she must also pay all the money that had been wrongly discounted from her council tax. 

Councillor Andy Crawford, cabinet member for finance at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “If you are claiming council tax support you must inform us immediately if you experience a change in circumstance.  If you fail to do so you could be committing a fraud and we will not hesitate to take action.”

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