City of London Corporation victory in £72,000 benefit fraud case
A City of London Corporation social housing tenant has pleaded guilty, at the Old Bailey, to 13 counts of benefit fraud, illegally claiming over £72,000 in benefits.
Ms Minty Ghosh, age 51, and a resident of the City Corporation’s Avondale Square Estate in Southwark was convicted of benefit fraud after failing to declare £72,000 (the equivalent cost of 31,000 free school meals) in undeclared bank accounts. The offences took place between 2003 and 2013, with the prosecution presenting evidence revealing fraudulent claims of housing benefit payments, council tax benefit and job seekers allowance.
The defendant is expected to repay the full amount to the City of London Corporation plus interest. Sentencing will take place on the 7th August.
Ms Ghosh’s case was brought to court following an investigation by the City of London Corporation, Southwark Council, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the City of London Police. Her defence claimed the sum of money was a loan from her mother and therefore didn’t belong to her. The capital cap for benefit claimants is £16,000 and is set by the DWP.
Speaking after the guilty plea, Chris Keesing, Anti-Fraud Manager for the City of London Corporation, said: “We are pleased with the outcome which proves that there is no hiding place for people who commit benefit fraud. Once convicted, they can receive a criminal record, a hefty fine and often have their assets seized.
“It is a myth that benefit fraud is a victimless crime. It is public money that could have gone towards helping someone in genuine need or towards funding cash-strapped public services. I would urge anyone who suspects fraud to report it to the authorities.”
Acting Detective Chief Inspector Doug Blackwood of the City of London Police said, “This is a large sum of money illegitimately gained over a long period of time. Benefit fraudsters should be under no illusion that you will be prosecuted and put before the courts.”
For media enquires please contact
Rachel Tooze, media officer at the City of London Corporation
020 7332 1528