There are plenty of stories of rogue landlords and criminal tenants, but this week we have a story for you that ticks both boxes!
A couple from Wales fraudulently claimed nearly £50k in benefits by telling the Department of Work and Pensions that they were tenant and landlord. In fact, the couple were living together as common-law partners and regularly enjoyed holidays together.
Fraudulent Benefit Claim to DWP
The story began one half of the couple put in a claim for Housing Benefit and Employment and Support Allowance from Vale of Glamorgan Council. She was entitled to this, as she was living on her own and unable to work, but a few months later, her partner moved in and they became a couple.
“She was maintaining a common household with Harris. That change in circumstance was never reported,” the prosecutor told the court.
For four years, the pair kept up the pretence of being landlord and tenant while enjoying holidays abroad. They claimed just over £47k in benefits they were not entitled to during that period. However, as is often the case, the DWP received an anonymous tipoff from a disgruntled acquaintance and an investigation ensued.
Charge with Dishonesty and Making False Statements
The pair were later charged with various counts of dishonesty, failing to notify the DWP of a change in circumstances, and making false statements to obtain benefits. They both pleaded guilty and sentenced to unpaid work and rehabilitation activities, along with suspended prison sentences.
The couple are working to repay the money they stole from the DWP and both have promised they will not do anything like this again.
“This is entirely out of character for both of you and I accept you both have genuine remorse. I doubt very much either of you will commit an offence again,” said the Judge.
Making false claims to the DWP is always a risky business. More often than not, claimants are caught out when someone they know reports them.
Have you had any experience of tenants or landlords making false claims to the DWP? Tell us more in the comments!
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