|Woman from Carthew Road Sentenced for Benefit Fraud|
Allder given suspended jail term and told to do unpaid work
A fraudster who swindled Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council out of almost £30,000 of benefits has avoided jail.
Sandra Allder, of Carthew Road in Hammersmith claimed the cash despite having more than £40,000 saved in her bank account.
When she was questioned by H&F Council’s corporate anti fraud service, she claimed that the money was not hers and this it was for her son who has learning difficulties.
In total, Allder, 56, illegally claimed £22,340 of housing benefit, £5,096 of council tax benefit and £8,127 of income support.
She pleaded guilty to fraud at Hammersmith Magistrates on Thursday October 4.
At Isleworth Crown Court, on Friday November 9, Allder was sentenced to 24 weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months. She was also told to do 150 hours unpaid work.
Deputy Leader, Cllr Greg Smith, said: “Whatever your personal circumstances may be, it is simply unacceptable to cheat the public purse. We will continue to clamp down hard on those who think that fraud is acceptable.”
This case comes as H &F joins neighbouring councils in Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster in launchin a month-long fraud awareness campaign.
The council says investigators will undertake proactive operations during the campaign which will focus upon all types of fraud affecting local authorities, including housing benefit fraud, blue badge fraud, council tax fraud and housing fraud.
Launching the fraud awareness month with the support of the National Fraud Authority (NFA), the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Peabody Housing Association, the three councils announced the establishment of an Action Fraud hotline, on 0300 123 2040 that will be linked to the National Fraud Agency’s reporting centre.
Fraud against one section of a council, such as tenancy fraud, is often linked to other types of fraud, so the three councils will pass on any leads to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) which is overseen by the City of London Police.
This is the first time that local authorities will have used the Action Fraud hotline and the NFIB in this way.
Speaking at the launch, the Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell, said: “Fraud is a crime that we are all increasingly exposed to. We in the public sector take the issue of fraud very seriously. Every penny stolen by fraudsters is a penny less that we can spend on front line services to protect the most vulnerable in our society. That is why I welcome the launch of this fraud awareness month to draw the public’s attention to these issues, raise awareness among our own staff and to collectively share vital intelligence and information to help us to better prevent and detect fraud.”
Deputy Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council and Cabinet Member for Residents' Services Cllr Greg Smith said: " We are always looking at new and innovative ways of tackling housing tenancy fraud and catching benefit cheats, who steal millions of pounds every year, direct from decent taxpayers’ pockets.
"As this hotline links up the councils and the National Fraud Agency from the beginning of any investigation, we are sharing information more easily, being efficient and giving ourselves more opportunities to catch criminals and fraudsters than ever."
November 16, 2012