Thanks to an anonymous caller, a Merton woman has been sentenced to 150 hours of community service for defrauding Merton Council and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of almost £17,000.
The caller contacted the national fraud-stoppers hotline and revealed Karen Perrin, of Newman Terrace, in Clarendon Road, Mitcham, was working part-time at Bon Marche and lived with her partner, who was also employed, despite claiming she was a jobless single parent.
Merton Council and the DWP carried out a full investigation into Perrin’s claim for Income Support, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. They discovered that Perrin, 25, had failed to tell Merton’s benefit service when she started working or that the father of two of her children, Peter Hughes, lived with her.
In all Perrin defrauded the council and the DWP of £16,783.82. Wimbledon Magistrates Court took into account Perrin’s early guilty plea, her financial situation and her three children when handing out her sentence. She was also ordered to pay £150 towards the costs of the case.
Merton Council’s cabinet member for corporate resources, Councillor Samantha George said: “Just one call to the fraud-stoppers hotline helped Merton Council investigate and prosecute someone who was abusing the benefits system.
“We are committed to providing our residents with value for money by stamping out benefit fraud, whatever the personal circumstances of those involved. This case proves how vital it is for people to alert us if they know someone is defrauding the benefit service so we can act appropriately.”
Reporting fraud is simple:
Telephone Merton Anti Fraud Section hotline: 020 8545 3223 or the National Benefit Fraud hotline: 0800 854 440.