25 May 2018
Landlord prosecuted for Council Tax fraud
A council tax fraud totaling over £2,800 across three properties and over six years has been successfully prosecuted. Sentencing includes a fine of £1,052, 200 hours of unpaid work and 20 days of rehabilitation activity.
This week at York Magistrates Court (22 May 2018) a 51 year old man of Stillington Road, Brandsby pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud. He had claimed single person discounts at three rental properties that he owned in York, and which variously ran between 2010-2016.
The fraud was uncovered and investigated by Veritau, City of York Council’s fraud investigation service. The two-year investigation into his claims for discounts was prompted by a vigilant member City of York staff who was suspicious when the landlord rang the council to apply for a discount purporting to be a tenant rather than the landlord.
Veritau found that he had falsely applied for discounts at properties he owned which had more than one adult tenant living in them.
The landlord was interviewed under caution twice and admitted that he had never lived at the rental properties in York, apart from a brief period in 2014. He admitted that more than one adult had been living at each of the three properties at any one time and that he falsely claimed single person discounts in his name.
He further admitted to providing the council with a forged tenancy in order to claim a discount, and to corresponding by email with the council while purporting to be someone else, without their knowledge.
As a result of his fraudulent activity he obtained £2,831.74 in discounts on his council tax accounts to which he was not entitled.
The investigation concluded with the landlord being charged with five fraud offences to which he pleaded guilty.
At York Magistrates Court it was noted by the magistrate that the case had numerous aggravating features which increased its seriousness comprising of multiple false statements to the council, the long period of the fraud and the abuse of trust.
The landlord was given a community order and sentenced to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirement. He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £85 and court costs of £1,052.80.
Councillor Helen Douglas, executive member with responsibility for fraud, said: “This was a lengthy and serious case of multiple frauds against the council. Fraudulent claims of single person discount deprive the council and local residents of much-needed funds and can affect services.”