William Eichler 07 January 2016

Council worker avoids jail after committing £36,000 benefit fraud

Council worker avoids jail after committing £36,000 benefit fraud image

A former council employee has been spared jail after fraudulently claiming more than £36,000 in benefits.

Nicole Kelly, 35, appeared at Croydon Crown Court after pleading guilty to five charges of dishonesty, under the Fraud Act 2006.

A routine benefit-matching exercise found that Kelly, an employee of the council, had told the council’s benefits department that she had no capital or income when, in fact, she owned a property from which she received a rental income.

She received housing and council tax benefits amounting to £36,770.04 for the period 26 September 2006 to 07 March 2011.

Later, Ms Kelly also sold the property for £75,000 but made no effort to pay back what she defrauded from the council.

The judge said that he had no sympathy for Ms Kelly but, because of her young children, she would only receive a sentence of 15 months imprisonment, suspended for two years and a six-month curfew between the hours of 8pm and 5am.

Cllr Simon Hall, Croydon cabinet member for finance and treasury, said: ‘Benefit fraud of this magnitude always comes as a shock; when it’s committed by a member of the council’s own staff, though, the shock and dismay are even greater.

‘But for the diligent work of our fraud investigators, this woman would have profited by more than £110,000, taking into account the profit made on the sale of the property.’

‘That was money that she, in effect, stole from the honest people of Croydon, and we’ll be doing all we can, under the Proceeds of Crime Act, to recover the illegally gained sum for the people that genuinely need it,’ he added.

Ms Kelly was dismissed from her job after the deception came to light.

Time for a council tax precept to fund CCTV image

Time for a council tax precept to fund CCTV

The crisis in funding for CCTV systems is not being addressed by the government or the police and is leading to the curtailment of this vital service in local authorities across the country. How can we ensure that communities that want this service continue to receive it, asks Tom Reeve.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Mayoralty & Business Manager

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£41,292 - £50,034
The Mayoralty & Business Manager will be responsible for maintaining the reputation of both Mayoralties and promoting a positive image of... London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Joint Assistant Director - Communities and Wellbeing

Babergh & Mid Suffolk
£75,000
Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are at the forefront of joint working and are a progressive award-winning partnership Ipswich, Suffolk
Recuriter: Babergh & Mid Suffolk

Customer Services Assistant - Annualised Hours

Essex County Council
£18029 - £19329 per annum
Customer Services Assistant - Annualised HoursPermanent, Part Timeup to £19,329 per annum pro rataLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Customer Services Assistant - Annualised Hours

Essex County Council
£18039 - £19329 per annum
Customer Services Assistant - Annualised HoursPermanent, Part Timeup to £19,329 per annum pro rataLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Practice Supervisor - Children & Families Service - Northallerton

North Yorkshire County Council
£39,880 - £43,857 per annum pro rata + relocation support
An exciting position has arisen for an enthusiastic, well-motivated Practice Supervisor to join the Northallerton team. White Rose House, Northallerton. We very much promote flexible working with the ability to work remotely from a variety of bases as well as from home, whatever makes sense and is suitable to provide the best service.
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue