Seaside Benefits Scammer Must Repay £42,000
Hounslow Council continues campaign against fraudulent claimants
A woman who falsely claimed more than £42,000 in benefits whilst owning seaside property has been given three months to pay back the money, or face 18 months in prison.
Anne Newell, moved to the borough in September 2008 and applied for Income Support from the Department for Work and Pensions as she was unable to work due to drug addiction. In April 2009, she applied to the council for housing and council tax benefit.
When applying for these benefits, she failed to declare that she had bought a property on Gibbon Road, Newhaven, for £133,500 in March 2004, and was renting this property out.
Following a tip off from a member of the public that Miss Newell owned a property whilst claiming benefits, the council’s fraud team launched an investigation.
Checks with Newhaven Council revealed there had been two claims for housing benefit at the property where Miss Newell had been named as the landlord.
The investigation revealed she had falsely claimed housing benefits of £24,426.07 and Income Support of £18,034.86.
Cllr Ed Mayne, cabinet member for community safety and regulatory services at the council, said: “People who falsely apply for benefits think they can con the public purse of thousands of pounds and get away with it - but this case shows exactly how wrong they are.
“Anyone thinking they can get away with this kind of fraud should think again – we will find you, and use whatever means we can to recover the funds.”
The council prosecuted Miss Newell in April, at Isleworth Crown Court, where she was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and 120 hours unpaid community work.
To recover the money, the council applied for a confiscation order, which is made after a conviction to deprive the defendant of the benefit that they have obtained from the crime. This was heard at Feltham Magistrates Court on Friday, 23 August, where magistrates issued the order to repay £42,460.93 within three months, and prosecution costs of £6,971.50 within six months. Failure to repay the money on time would result in an 18 month prison sentence.
To report suspected benefits cheats, contact the council’s fraud team at Fraud@hounslow.gov.uk, or call our fraud hotline on 020 8583 2111.
September 6, 2013