Benefit assessors from London councils convicted of fraud

24 Jan 19

A group of seven benefit assessors from councils in London have been convicted of committing housing benefit fraud worth £1m across three councils.

Barking and Dagenham, Lambeth and Kingston paid out a combined total of £1m to workers, who created false housing benefit claims and received funds to accounts that they controlled.

Ben Reid, from the CPS specialist fraud division, said: “These defendants were trusted with public money – but abused the systems to satisfy their own greed.

“Their criminal network was large and complex. The CPS played an integral role in the successful prosecution of this case. We were engaged with the investigators from an early stage and we are thankful that the hard work by all involved has paid off and justice has now been done.”

The defendants, who denied the charges, would identify properties, collecting details for false claims and creating appointments for the fraudsters at the council. They also approved false claims and used their systems to ensure council letters weren’t sent to properties to reveal their fraud.

Money was sent into accounts controlled by money launderers, who left the country before they could be discovered by the police.

The CPS released details of the conviction, which came at the end of a three-month trial, last week. They will be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on 18 March.

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