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Benefit fraudster escapes jail over £30,000 scam

PUBLISHED: 10:34 12 August 2015 | UPDATED: 14:30 12 August 2015

Gravesham Borough Council offices

Gravesham Borough Council offices

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Pele Cousins deceived taxpayers for four years

A benefit fraudster who claimed more than £30,000 to which she was not entitled has escaped jail.

Pele Cousins didn’t tell Gravesham Borough Council that her partner had moved in with her and was working full-time, and instead claimed £32,143 in housing benefit, council tax benefit and income support over four years.

Cousins, 43, of Homemead Close, Gravesend, #was given a six-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, at Maidstone Crown Court.

She must also comply with a supervision order and attend a rehabilitation course.

A second fraudster, Krzysztof Bielawski, was also found to have wrongly claimed £5,635 in housing benefit and council tax benefit over 18 months.

Bielawski, 51, of Park Avenue, Northfleet, denied two charges of fraud but was found guilty at Dartford Magistrates’ Court.

He was ordered to do 80 hours’ community service and to pay £300 costs and a £60 charge to help victims of crime.

Council leader John Cubitt said: “It is extremely important that people tell the council if they have had a change in circumstance. Receiving benefits that you are not entitled to is effectively stealing.”

To report benefit fraud, call 01474 337231 or 337400, visit www.gravesham.gov.uk/fraud or text FRAUD with details to 07781 480521.

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