1. ITV Report

Fraudulent benefit cheat ordered to do community service

Julie Ottewell Photo: ITV News Central

A benefits cheat from Derbyshire who tried to deceive the courts by providing a fake doctor's letter has been ordered to do 150 hours community service.

Julie Ottewell, from Shipley, had admitted fraudulently claiming almost £5,500 while working at a local school.

Ottewell missed nine court appearances and provided Nottingham Magistrates Court with a letter from her GP along with a medical certificate stating she was too unwell to attend court and was in hospital in Oxford at the time of one of the hearings. Further investigations found the documents to be fake, and discovered that she was in fact at work when she should have attended court.

In May 2011, Ottewell claimed Housing and Council Tax benefit with her husband, David Ottewell, for their privately rented property on Main Road, Ravenshead, Nottinghamshire. In the application she failed to declare that she was working for The Friesland School in Sandiacre and had done so since 2004. She also fraudulently claimed Income Support from the Department for Work and Pensions from June 2011.

Ottewell finally handed herself in to police and appeared in custody before Nottingham Magistrates on May 23, 2013. Ottewell pleaded guilty to two offences of benefit fraud as she had not declared her employment at The Friesland School.

Today at Nottingham Magistrates Court, Julie Ottewell has been ordered to do 150 hours community service.

It is clear that not only has this person attempted to deceive the council but has the audacity to attempt to deceive the courts as well. We expect the Courts to take the firmest possible action and deter anyone else who is thinking about making a false claim.

I would also like to congratulate the investigation work undertaken by the fraud staff at the council which has led to this person being brought to justice, they have shown their dedication to catching those who attempt to defraud the council and the people of the borough.

– Councillor John Clarke, Leader of Gedling Borough Council