Housing Benefit Fraudster pleads guilty

A Merton resident was convicted at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court of dishonestlty failing to notify the Council of a change in his circumstances. On 30th March, Mr Andrew Broaders of Mitcham was sentenced to 200 hours community punishment order. He was also ordered to pay the Council £500 towards its legal and investigation costs.

After applying for Housing Benefit in February 2002, Mr Broaders started full time work in May 2002. He stopped claiming Job Seekers Allowance but chose not to inform the Housing Benefit Section of his employment. During a routine visit on 18th March 2003 by a Council Benefits Verification Officer, Mr Broaders was discovered to be working.

Further investigation determined that between 25.5.02 and 18.3.03 Mr Broader’s earnings for this period exceeded the minimum level of income to entitle him to any assistance with his rent. During an interview under caution Mr Broaders admitted cashing cheques amounting to £2,730 knowing it was wrong.

Chris Johnson, Head of Audit at Merton, said of the hearing:

“We are pleased with the result. Officers invested time and effort in bringing the case to court. Merton Councillors are firmly behind the drive against fraudulent claimants and will continue to pursue fraudsters through the legal process.”