Cheats warned after woman's illegal claim
PUBLISHED: 16:58 11 November 2009 | UPDATED: 11:12 23 August 2010
BENEFIT cheats are being warmed they face prosecution after a resident was given a suspended jail sentence after police received a tip-off. Helen Margaret Gallagher of Baltic Wharf, Gravesend, was found to have illegally claimed more than £22,000. She r
BENEFIT cheats are being warmed they face prosecution after a resident was given a suspended jail sentence after police received a tip-off.
Helen Margaret Gallagher of Baltic Wharf, Gravesend, was found to have illegally claimed more than £22,000.
She received a 120 day sentence suspended for two years and a curfew after pleading guilty at Dartford Magistrates on Friday October 30.
Cabinet member for Transformation councillor Adrian Warburton said that housing regulations say if a tenant or child is related to their landlord they cannot receive housing benefit.
He said: "Miss Gallagher has been caught and prosecuted thanks to yet another anonymous tip-off from a member of the public.
"We have received a 100 per cent increase in tip-offs from our hotline which sends a clear message to benefit cheats that people are watching and will report them."
Gallagher, who failed to tell Gravesham Borough Council she was renting her home from the father of her child, must also re-pay the £22,251 she owes as well as £262 in court costs.
The court heard how Miss Gallagher submitted a false statement to Gravesham Borough Council in August 2005 through to June 2009 saying that her child was not related to her landlord in a bid to provide her child with a "good home".
Magistrates said this was a very serious offence which has led to "public money being taken out of the public purse."
To report a benefit cheat call Gravesham Borough Council between 8am and 5pm on 01474 33 72 31 or leave a message on the 24hr voice mail service on 01474 33 74 00.
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