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More than 400 fraudsters have now been prosecuted since 2002

PUBLISHED: 12:41 16 July 2015 | UPDATED: 12:41 16 July 2015

Bromley Civic Centre

Bromley Civic Centre

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Partnership with Greenwich aims to track, trace and prosecute benefit cheats

The Bromley and Greenwich fraud partnership, set up 2002, has now prosecuted more than 400 benefit cheats.

Set up to track, trace and prosecute benefit fraudsters, the partnership’s milestone was reached after Bromley Council’s two most recent prosecutions at Bromley Magistrates’ Court.

In both cases the frauds were identified by ‘Real Time Information’ from HMRC.

Valerie Apelgren, aged 63, of Raymond Road, Beckenham, had failed to notify the Council’s Benefit Section that she had a number of different jobs since April 2013 which resulted in her being overpaid £22,497 in housing benefit and council tax support between April 2013 and April 2015.

Ms Apelgren attended Bromley Magistrates’ Court in May and pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to declare a change of circumstances and was sentenced to a Community Order with a requirement to complete 120 hours unpaid work. She will also have to pay costs of £375 and a £60 victim surcharge to the court.

As well as having a criminal record, the overpayment of both housing benefit and council tax support is currently being recovered by the council.

In a second case, Mazuba Makwim, aged 47, of High Street, Orpington, pleaded guilty to defrauding Bromley Council out of housing and council benefits totalling £12,610 between August 2011 and November 2014. Mr Makwim failed to notify the council that had he two additional jobs to the one job he had declared.

At his hearing, Mr Makwim pleaded guilty and in June was sentenced to 80 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £575 in costs and a victim surcharge of £60.

As well as having a criminal record, he also has to pay all of the money back owed to the council.

Councillor Neil Reddin, chairman of Bromley’s Audit Committee, said: “I would like to thank all the officers who have worked diligently over the years for the fraud partnership and congratulate them on their success in achieving 400 prosecutions.

“The responsibility for housing benefit fraud now transfers to the DWP but we are committed to carry on fighting all other fraud and ensuring that people who commit fraud against Bromley Council will be prosecuted. Our public funds are only available to those in genuine need.”

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