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Bromley pair convicted after receiving more than £45,000 in benefit fraud

PUBLISHED: 08:04 17 December 2013 | UPDATED: 08:04 17 December 2013

Two people guilty of defrauding Bromley Council by more than £45,000 in housing and tax benefits were handed a combined 16 week suspended jail sentence.

Elaine Letchford, 49, of Whitewebbs Way, St Paul’s Cray and Vicky Power, 29, of Anerley Road, Penge, both pleaded guilty at Bromley Magistrates Court on December 4.

Anonymous information received led to an investigation showing Ms Letchford had failed to declare she had received substantial additional income through her bank accounts.

On top of her suspended sentence, she was also handed a six month curfew order from dusk to dawn and ordered to pay £550 costs. She will also be required to pay back the entire overpayment.

An investigation into Ms Power’s affairs uncovered four undeclared bank accounts with substantial incomes going through them.

She will have to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work, as well as paying back the whole overpayment and £550 costs.

Cllr Neil Reddin, chairman of Bromley’s audit committee, said: “These two cases show that we will not let up in our fight to prosecute these cheats even over the Christmas holiday period.

“Our message is clear, ‘fiddle and you will be caught’. Public funds are only for those in genuine need.”

These cases bring the total of Bromley benefit claimants prosecuted to 342 since Bromley and Greenwich Councils joined forces to track and prosecute fraudsters.

Anyone with information about suspected benefit fraud should contact the Fraud Hotline on 0800 169 6975, or email audit@bromley.gov.uk.

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