23 Mar 2013

£45k benefit fraud effectively unpunished

A Basildon benefit cheat who falsely claimed nearly £45,000 in Housing and Council Tax benefits over a period of eight years has pleaded guilty.

June King, 54, originally pleaded not guilty to dishonestly making false statements and failing to declare her partner was living with her and working.

However, she changed that to a guilty plea in court of knowingly making a false statement, as she had a joint bank account with her partner into which his wages were paid and she had full access.

She falsely claimed Housing benefits totalling £33,869 and £10,300 in council tax overpayments over a period of 8 years. King was sentenced to two months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and £1,000 costs to be paid at £20 per week.

Councillor Stuart Sullivan, cabinet member for resources, said:
It is disappointing that someone can fraudulently claim £45,000 of taxpayers money, maintain their innocence and change their mind at the last minute, but still avoid a prison sentence. What sort of deterrent does this sentence give?

The benefit system is there for people genuinely in need, not for people that make false statements to get help they do not need.
Well said, Stuart Sullivan. June King seems to have suffered no inconvenience at all.

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