£30k benefit fraudster avoids jail

standard web pics to use on the Milton Keynes Citizen website www.miltonkeynes.co.uk

standard web pics to use on the Milton Keynes Citizen website www.miltonkeynes.co.uk

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A WOMAN has narrowly escaped jail despite racking up nearly £30,000 in unlawfully claimed benefits.

Nana Bempong, 35, of Downing Close, Bletchley, failed to tell the council that one of her three children was actually fathered by her landlord, and continued to claim a total of £29,268.31 in benefits illegally.

By law, her situation had to be declared, as it makes any claim for Housing Benefit null and void.

However, Ms Bempong never did reveal this relationship and carried on claiming the benefit over a period of four and a half years.

She was given a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and also ordered to do 220 hours of unpaid work.

The bench said that but for the fact Ms Bempong has three children she would have surely gone to jail and they also ordered her to pay back the full sum as well as the full prosecution costs of £1,486.92.

In mitigation, the court heard claims that Ms Bempong had since been ordered to leave the property, and that she hadn’t benefited from the benefits, although these claims were disputed by the council.

An MKC benefit fraud spokesman said: “We are very pleased with this result and the fact that the magistrates imposed a prison sentence – albeit suspended – and a hefty amount of community service work shows how seriously they took this case.

“This lady had ample opportunity to provide us with proper and honest details of her family circumstances, but failed to do so.”