Crawley benefit cheat claimed £24k

Court
Court

A Crawley woman has been found guilty of falsely claiming more than £24,000 in benefits.

Kerry Allen, of Furzefield, West Green, claimed £15,739.40 housing benefit, £3,048.46 council tax benefit and £5,349.62 income support on the basis her husband had left her home in 2009 and they were not part of the same household.

A Crawley Borough Council spokesman said it received a tip-off Mrs Allen was living with her husband and a joint investigation was carried out with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Allen, 36, was interviewed under caution by council and DWP officers and denied they were a couple during the period.

She 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 on Wednesday (February 25).

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.

Cllr Peter Lamb, leader of the council, said: “The council takes false benefit claims very seriously and we are committed to prosecuting people who commit benefit fraud.

“Social security plays a vital role in helping those in need but the system can only function if it goes to those who genuinely need it.”