Ex-Exeter councillor accused of £10,000 benefits fraud

Exeter Crown Court Image copyright Google
Image caption Catherine Pierce was released on bail and will face trial at Exeter Crown Court in May

A former Tory councillor for Exeter accused of fraudulently claiming more than £10,000 in housing benefit has appeared in court.

Catherine Pierce, 56, of Cathedral Court, Exeter, resigned from the city council in October 2019, after she was informed she would be prosecuted.

She denied five counts of dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstance while claiming benefits.

The former Conservative councillor for Topsham is due to face trial in May.

Ms Pierce is accused of defrauding the local authority between April 2017 and February 2019, Exeter Crown Court heard.

She allegedly obtained housing benefit dishonestly by failing to declare income from allowances she had received in her role as a councillor, and from a private pension, and from part-time work as an administrator for the NHS.

The council allowances alone are thought to have been worth approximately £400 per month.

Judge David Evans set the trial date of 19 May and released Mrs Pierce on unconditional bail.

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