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Benefits crook hoodwinked council out of £70,000

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Benefits crook hoodwinked council out of £70,000

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Legal

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A welfare fraudster managed to con Richmond Borough Council out of £70,000.

Samantha Buckley was investigated by the council's internal audit team and the Department for Works and Pensions when it was discovered she was claiming benefits as a single mother, when in fact she lived with her husband who was in full-time employment.

The crook falsely claimed £7,300 in housing benefit, £1,800 in council tax benefit and £65,000 in income support.

After pleading guilty to all charges at an earlier session, the thief was sentenced last week at Kingston Crown Court to 12 months’ custody (suspended for two years) and two years' supervision.

She was additionally ordered to carry out 240 hours unpaid work and a 40-hour education and employment course, and was hit with costs of £400 and £100 victim surcharge to be paid within six months.

Cllr Geoffrey Samuel, the council’s deputy leader, said: “Once again we have succeeded in exposing benefit cheats. Benefit cheats be warned – we will leave no stone unturned in rooting out fraudulent claims.

“Our main aim is to protect the public purse and ensure that financial help is available for those who truly deserve and are entitled to it. All benefit theft is crime and this Council is determined to bring fraudsters to justice.”

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