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Pair fined for stealing thousands in benefits

PUBLISHED: 13:58 25 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:42 07 September 2010

TWO women who conned Westminster Council out of thousands of pounds have been convicted for fraudulently claiming housing benefit

Susanna Wilkey

TWO women who conned Westminster Council out of thousands of pounds have been convicted for fraudulently claiming housing benefit.

They were successfully prosecuted in separate cases by the council after admitting to cheating the local authority out of the cash.

Gloria Mansook dishonestly claimed more than £12,000 in benefits after she deliberately failed to inform the council she had found work as a bus driver.

The 36-year-old mother of one from Queen's Park was caught after checks revealed she no longer received income support but remained in receipt of housing benefit.

She pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to notify the council of a change of circumstances between January 2004 and December 2006.

City of Westminster magistrates ordered her to pay £800 in costs and handed her a 12-month conditional discharge. She is now paying back the money she falsely took from the council.

A second woman Nair Morandin deceitfully claimed more than £8,000 in benefits from the council.

The 47-year-old waitress, also from Queen's Park, was also receiving housing benefits despite having savings of £30,000.

The council became suspicious of her actions when checks showed she was getting interest from her undeclared bank account.

She pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to notify the council that she had opened savings accounts and a further offence of providing a false statement to claim benefits.

She was fined £600 and ordered to pay £788 in costs at the City of Westminster magistrates' court.

Before the hearing she had paid back the money she had stolen.

Finance boss Cllr Colin Barrow said: "The message is clear - if you claim benefits that you are not entitled to, you will be caught.

"Westminster Council works with other agencies, combining information to ensure that anyone trying to beat the system doesn't get away with it.

"If you are caught, we will pursue the case through the courts and not only will you have to pay back the money but also court costs and fines as well as being given a criminal record.

"I urge anyone who suspects housing benefit fraud against the council to call our freephone confidential hotline on 0800 028 9888."

susanna.wilkey@hamhigh.co.uk

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