Crawley benefit fraudster sentenced

Court
Court

A Crawley woman has been sentenced after falsely claiming more than £3,000 in housing benefit.

Jolie Court, 46, of Baylis Walk, Broadfield, pleaded guilty at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (March 10) to dishonestly making a false statement to obtain a benefit.

A spokesman for Crawley Borough Council said Court had claimed housing benefit on the basis she was eligible because her total household income was low.

Intelligence was received by the council that Court’s husband had started work. This information was not given to the council by the claimant and an investigation began in July 2014.

Evidence confirmed Mr Court’s employment since 29 March 2014 and verified proof of his earnings.

This information resulted in the housing benefit claim being cancelled as the total household income was too high to qualify for any entitlement.

We take false benefit claims very seriously and are committed to prosecuting people who commit benefit fraud.

Cllr Peter Lamb

As a result of the investigation, Court’s housing benefit entitlement was recalculated, resulting in an overpayment of £3,415.32.

Court was sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge with £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. The housing benefit overpayment will be paid back to the council.

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

“If your circumstances change tell us; it’s the only way to be sure that you’re eligible for benefits.

“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.”

Based at the Town Hall, the Fraud Team works to prevent, detect and investigate all fraud committed against the council.

Anyone who thinks they know someone who is claiming benefits fraudulently can call the council free and in confidence 24 hours a day on 0800 634 0180 or email investigations@crawley.gov.uk