Three people were convicted of benefits fraud by Brighton magistrates yesterday (Thursday 8 May).
Stephen Winter Gill, 32, of Rotherfield Crescent, Hollingbury, pleaded guilty to five counts of falsely claiming benefits in a case brought by Brighton and Hove City Council.
He was given a ten-month suspended prison sentence – five months for each offence suspended for a year.
Gill was also ordered to pay £1,980 costs and an £80 victim surcharge and told to carry out 180 hours unpaid work.
The court was told that he was running a lettings agency when he claimed £28,500 in housing benefit and £731 in council tax benefit.
He said that he was paying rent to his mother and needed to claim housing benefit but the council found no evidence of rent being paid.
During the council’s investigation Gill admitted that he had set up a tenancy agreement in order to claim housing benefit.
In another case Alieu Marr, 40, of 16 Farm Road, Hove, admitted charges of claiming £29,400 in housing benefit and £1,234 in council tax benefit.
He also admitted having a forged visa stamp on his passport.
Marr said that he was British and eligible to claim benefits in the UK but his visa to remain in the country had expired in 2003.
The case was referred to the crown court for sentencing.
Magistrates also found Lee Simpson, 46, of Stanley Street, Brighton, guilty of falsely claiming almost £11,000 in housing benefit when he was not living at the address for which he was claiming.
Simpson failed to attend court and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
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