27/10/2011

Husband and Wife Jailed For Benefit Fraud

A couple that had taken £150,000 in falsified benefits have been jailed for three years.

Maurice and Lindy Sumner were sentenced on at Wood Green Crown Court after pleading guilty to offences of fraud by false misrepresentation and dishonest representation.

An investigation was launched in 2009 by officers from the Met’s Fraud Squad after information was passed to them after an internal audit at Enfield Council which identified discrepancies around working hours.

Mrs Sumner had been working at the council as an out-of-hours homecare manager on a part time basis, whilst working full time for a housing association/group in Willesden.

However, the internal audit flagged up that Mrs Sumner had not been working her contracted hours.

During the investigation it was established that Sumner and her husband had been claiming housing benefit for a property in Enfield. Further inquiries revealed the property had been issued to them as temporary accommodation after they had claimed to be homeless.

Inquiries were subsequently made with Haringey Borough Council because the address provided by Mrs Sumner in her job application was within their borough. It was established the Sumners’ were also Housing Association tenants at an address within Haringey - which they were sub-letting.

Mr and Mrs Sumner defrauded the London Boroughs of Enfield and Haringey by failing to declare their income and furnished false information for assessing their entitlement for council tax and housing benefit. In total they gained in excess of £120,000 in benefits.

Lindy Sumner also defrauded HMRC out of more than £32,000 of tax credits.

Detective Inspector Tim Dowdeswell, of the Met’s Fraud Squad, said: “This investigation highlights the effectiveness of partnership working in cases of this nature. Lindy and Maurice Sumner abused the benefits system to the tune of £150,000 and believed they had got away with their deception.

"The commitment and determination shown by both the Enfield Investigation Team and the Fraud Squad should send out a clear message to benefit cheats who engage in criminality that they will be caught.”

(DW/GK)

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