A Brighton woman who faked a landlord’s letter to claim more than £12,000 in benefits has been given an eight week prison sentence, suspended for a year.
Dawn Hardwick, of Montpelier Road, pleaded guilty to eight charges of housing and council tax benefit fraud at Brighton Magistrates’ Court dating back to November 2007 on Tuesday.
Ms Hardwick had claimed the benefits for a flat in Lansdowne Place in Hove and had produced a landlord letter confirming that she lived there. However, the council’s suspicions were aroused when she made a fresh claim last year and an investigation revealed that she was not living at the address and had falsified the landlord letter.
The magistrate imposed a condition on the suspended sentence that Ms Hardwick should complete 100 hours of unpaid work. She was also ordered to pay £960 costs.
Councillor Ayas Fallon-Khan, cabinet member for central services, said: “This sends a strong message that it really does not pay to defraud the taxpayer and could result in a prison sentence. Benefit fraud means honest council taxpayers end up subsidising cheats.
“Benefits are for those who genuinely need them – not for fraudsters.”