PHONEY ‘PASTOR’ PROSECUTED FOR COUNCIL TAX FRAUD
A Penge man who falsely claimed to be a pastor at a baptist church in Harlesden has been prosecuted for falsely claiming council tax exemption and single person discount on his council tax.
The 33 year old man was sentenced to a suspended custodial sentence and ordered to pay substantial costs.
He was investigated when an application for a secondary school place was received by the education department.
As a single person’s discount (SPD) had been awarded to the current occupant of the rented property in Malcolm Close, the application was referred to internal audit and anti-fraud where enquiries revealed that in June 2011, the man was found to have submitted a false tenancy agreement in his name only to support his application for an SPD when in fact his wife was also resident at the property.
The man had also supplied the council with a false student certificate in February 2012 to claim exemption and finally he had applied for a religious disregard previously for claiming to be a pastor at a baptist church in Harlesden which was also false.
He had also applied for SPD in April 2013 using an entirely different name .
He initially pleaded not guilty to three charges under Sections 1(2)(a) and 2(1) of the Fraud Act 2006 of making false representations to make a gain for himself totalling £2,637.65.
The case was adjourned to for a trial at Bexley magistrates court where he was found guilty and sentenced to 17 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years on each count to run consecutively totalling 51 weeks.
He was also ordered to complete 300 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £2,700.00 to Bromley council at a rate of £350.00 a month after the council tax debt is cleared.
A Bromley council spokeswoman said that as the man, a Brazilian citizen, is currently subject to Immigration Control and has no recourse to public funds, the Home Office has been notified of the outcome of this case.
Anyone with information about a suspected benefit fraud should contact (in strict confidence) the Fraud Hotline on 0800 169 6975 or email [email protected]
The Council has also recently launched an anti-fraud App, which is a quick and easy way residents can report their suspicions. Visit www.bromley.gov.uk/fraud for information about downloading the App to your mobile device. (Source: Bromley council press release)
LEWISHAM CRACKDOWN ON FLYTIPPING WITH NEW POWERS
Lewisham council are introducing new on-the-spot fines to reduce flytipping offences in the borough.
“We have been given new powers to tackle illegal dumping by making it easier to take action against offenders” said a Lewisham spokesperson. “From 1 June 2016, anyone caught flytipping in Lewisham may be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £400, or £250 if paid within 10 working days.
“The new measures have been granted to local authorities under the Unauthorised Deposit of Waste (Fixed Penalties) Regulations 2016. “The measures will allow us to take swift action against offenders by removing the burden of taking a small matter to court.
“Over the past year, we have issued over 400 fixed penalty notices for waste offences in Lewisham, including for business owners” the spokesperson added. (Source: Lewisham council press release.)