8:42am Friday 14th December 2012
A BURNLEY woman who claimed more than £10,000 of housing benefit as a ‘boarder’, even though she was living with her mother, has been prosecuted by Burnley Council.
Nicola Brown, 36, of Accrington Road, falsely claimed benefits totalling £10,641.41, magistrates were told.
The court heard an anonymous phone call to the council sparked an inquiry by the investigation team.
Staff discovered that Brown was living with her mum and step dad but claimed she was staying in private rented accommodation. Housing benefit is not payable if a person is a boarder of a close relative.
During an interview with an investigation officer, Brown admitted she had provided the council with statements she knew to be false, in that she failed to tell the council of the relationship between herself and her parents.
Following an inquiry her claim for housing benefit was reassessed and she was found to be no longer eligible to claim the benefit.
She was fined £125 and ordered to pay £150 costs after admitting fraud. Brown also has to pay back the benefits overpayment.
A Burnley Council spokesman said: “We continue to work hard to identify and pursue those committing benefit fraud.
“If you suspect someone is claiming fraudulently you can contact the council confidentially on 0800 1691304 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
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