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3 Mar 2015

Single person benefit fraud nets £24,000

A Crawley woman has been sentenced after being found guilty of dishonestly claiming more than £24,000 in benefits by pretending she was no longer living with her husband.

Kerry Allen was found guilty of three counts of benefit fraud by a jury at Hove Crown Court.

Allen had wrongly claimed more than £24,000 in benefits from Crawley Borough Council and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) since 2009.

She had claimed £15,739.40 in housing benefit, £3,048.46 Council Tax benefit and £5,349.62 income support on the basis her husband had vacated the property they had been living in together in 2009 and that they were no longer part of the same household.

The council received information that Allen was still living with her husband throughout this period so a joint investigation was carried out with the DWP.

The 36-year-old was interviewed under caution by council and DWP officers where she denied that they were a couple during this period.

Mrs Allen pleaded not guilty to all three counts of benefit fraud at Hove Crown Court but was found guilty by a unanimous decision after a three-day trial. She was sentenced to a 12-month community order after falsely claiming £24,137.98.

The housing benefit and council tax benefit overpayments will be paid back to the council and the Income Support overpayments will be repaid to the DWP.

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