Surrey

Guildford pair admit £50,000 benefit fraud

  • 15 December 2010
  • From the section Surrey

A former husband and wife have been given suspended prison sentences for cheating Guildford council taxpayers out of more than £50,000.

Phuong Kim Tran and Tuan Nguyen admitted defrauding the borough council of housing and council tax benefit.

Guildford Crown Court heard that the pair were involved in making false tenancy statements and claims for two properties in the town.

They were sentenced to 30 weeks in jail, suspended for two years.

They were also each ordered to do 180 hours community service.

'Extremely serious'

Tran, 38, admitted two counts of making false statements and one of failing to notify the council of a change in circumstances.

Nguyen, 45, pleaded guilty to causing or allowing a false document to be produced.

The charges related to homes in Worplesdon Road and Larch Avenue, where Tran was accused of supplying false tenancy and landlord details.

The court heard that over four years, the pair made fraudulent claims of council tax benefit and housing benefit worth a total of £51,496.43.

After the case, lead councillor for finance and resources Andrew Hodges said: "This was an extremely serious case of benefit fraud. We have a duty to protect taxpayers' money and will prosecute anyone we find to be claiming benefits fraudulently.

"Benefits are there to help those who are most vulnerable in society, and we have a firm but fair policy in place which will help residents to claim correctly."

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