Merton Council takes fraudster to court

A former Merton Council employee has been sentenced to 28 days behind bars after admitting fraudulently claiming benefits worth £441 and breaking his bail conditions

Kingston Crown Court heard how 37-year-old Roy Carr, whose job had included visiting housing benefit claimants and checking whether they were entitled to the cash, applied for housing benefit immediately after he stopped working for Merton Council.

However, Carr, who worked for the council for two and a half years, deliberately did not tell his former colleagues he had also applied for, and been awarded, incapacity benefit by the Department of Work and Pensions – meaning he was not entitled to all the housing benefit and council tax benefits he was receiving.

Carr, of Radbourne Road, Balham, was ordered to appear before Wimbledon Magistrates Court where he denied committing fraud and chose to be tried by crown court. But just before he was due to attend Kingston Crown Court for the first time he phoned to say he was ill and could not make it.

The hearing was adjourned for a week but again Carr failed to appear – this time without giving any excuse. He was arrested and brought before the court where he denied failing to answer bail. Carr was remanded in custody until his next court date where he pleaded guilty to both fraud and breaking his bail conditions.

Sentencing Carr to 14 days imprisonment for each offence, Judge Southwell told the court Carr’s previous job at Merton Council was an aggravating feature in the case.

Cabinet member for Corporate Resources Councillor Samantha George said: “This is an excellent result. It shows that both the council and the courts will not tolerate those who dishonestly claim benefits they are not entitled to. Carr’s actions were made even more deplorable by the fact he used to work for Merton Council and would fully have realised the enormity of what he was doing.

“The determination with which Merton Council took this case through the courts in spite of Carr’s breaches of bail shows our commitment to putting residents first by safeguarding taxpayers’ money. “