A typical HB Investigation..just as SFIS starts?

THURROCK Council has successfully prosecuted a 42-year-old woman who defrauded taxpayers and benefited by more than £300,000.

Ms N was sentenced at Basildon Magistrates Court on Tuesday 23 September to 21 months custody, suspended for 2 years, and 200 hours of unpaid work and a 6 month home curfew after pleading guilty to 9 offences of using a false identity to commit fraud.

In 2008 Ms N applied for Housing Benefit through Thurrock Council using false identification.

Officers from Thurrock Council’s Fraud Investigation Service continued in their investigations and discovered that she had also claimed several benefits from other authorities, which included buying an ex-council property under the ‘Right to Buy’ scheme using false identity documents.

In December 2013, Thurrock Council Investigators in conjunction with Essex Police raided Ms N’s home address where she was arrested. A thorough search of the property resulted in several items being seized including two UK driving licences, a photocopy of a passport and old employment applications showing false information.

Sean Clark, Head of Corporate Finance, said: “The significant value of this case highlights the excellent detective work done by Thurrock Council’s Fraud Investigation Service.”

“We will not tolerate abuse of the benefits system and will not hesitate to take appropriate action against those who take such coordinated steps to dishonestly claim benefits that take resources away from hard-working taxpayers and services that our residents require.”

In summing up, Honour Judge Lodge commented that, “it was a very serious matter that clearly passes the custodial sentence guidelines and if it wasn’t for the fact that you had children you would immediately be serving a custodial sentence.”

Thurrock Council is now progressing confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime act.