Local man sentenced for fraudulently claiming a Covid-19 Grant
A local man who fraudulently claimed a Covid-19 Test and Trace Support Payment from West Oxfordshire District Council has been convicted in Oxford Magistrates Court.
At a hearing on 17 November 2023 Duncan Wileman aged 41, of Heather Close, Carterton pleaded guilty to one charge of dishonestly making a false representation contrary to Section 2(1) of the Fraud Act 2006.
Test and Trace Support Payments of £500, were granted to applicants on low incomes who were required to self-isolate by the NHS and would lose earnings as a result.
In Mr Wileman’s application, he falsely confirmed he would lose income, when in fact he wasn’t working at the time as he was off sick from his normal work as a self-employed window cleaner and therefore did not lose earnings as a result of self-isolating.
Mr Wileman was fined £80 and ordered to pay £500 compensation and the Council’s costs of £1000.
Councillor Lidia Arciszewska, Executive Member for Environment said; “At a time of national emergency during the COVID-19 crisis, Government funds were released to support struggling individuals across the country, and locally, across our district.
“False applications and dishonestly benefiting from a fraudulent application is wrong, and as with any fraud, we will be investigating and prosecuting this illegal activity.”
Over the course of the pandemic, West Oxfordshire District Council paid out grants to support individuals who were unable to work due to COVID restrictions. The council paid out £390,000 in Test and Trace Grants between September 2020 and April 2022.
The investigation was carried out by officers from the Council’s Counter Fraud and Enforcement Unit.
Members of the public can contact West Oxfordshire District Council with any concerns or allegations of fraud by email to the Counter Fraud and Enforcement Unit at [email protected]