5 Jun 2015

Man claimed housing benefit while living with mother

A man has been sentenced to 24 weeks in prison for claiming housing benefit while living with his mother in Hassocks.

Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC) said James Andrew Hall, 30, fraudulently claimed the benefit for a property at Ann Close four times between 2008 and 2013. Each time he claimed to be a lodger and said he was not related to his landlady.

In November 2013, an MSDC benefits officer noticed an inconsistency in his documents. The Council investigated and proved his landlady was his mother.

He was not entitled to any of the £9,772 in benefits he was paid from July 2008 to October 2011.

He pleaded guilty to four charges of making false representations on benefit claim forms and on June 1, was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison for each offence, concurrently, and is required to repay the benefits.

“Benefit fraud takes money away from the claimants who genuinely need our help and support,” said Councillor Ash-Edwards, MSDC Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Service Delivery.

“It’s a drain on honest, hardworking taxpayers and that’s why we have effective systems in place to catch the small minority who try to cheat the system. The length of sentence handed out by the Magistrates in this case should act as a clear warning to any potential cheats – committing benefit fraud is simply not worth the risk.”



Anonymous said...

I've seen stuff like this a few time, of course the mother uses her maiden name so they dont appear related. A check on Land Registry can reveal her married name. The HB form asks if they are related and they tick No and then later say it was a 'mistake'.

As with most fraud, only a fraction get discovered.

John Page said...

Thank you for that insight into one method.

Yes, I'm sure most fraud goes undetected - with the small number of enforcers and large and frequently changing numbers of claimants, it's inevitable.

Anonymous said...

Its only going to get worse with UC and Risk Based Verification, claimants simply apply on-line and then wait for their/our money.