20 June 2018
Scheme for vulnerable residents defrauded
A resident who bought a cooker through a hardship fund and then sold it for profit was prosecuted yesterday (20 June) for defrauding the charitable scheme.
The male (aged 36, York) bought a cooker through the York Financial Assistance Scheme.
Veritau, the council’s fraud investigation service, carried out an investigation into his claim following information that he was selling the item online, still in its packaging and that his claim was fraudulent.
The Financial Assistance Scheme is designed to be a safety net for the most vulnerable people in society. It is entirely funded by the taxpayer, administered by the council and has a limited annual budget.
During the course of the investigation, the man was visited in his home. He confirmed he no longer had the cooker but said it had been stolen. During the visit it was noted that he had another cooker in his kitchen.
The investigation concluded with him pleading guilty to one count of fraud at York Magistrates Court on 19 June 2018.
The court fined him £80, ordered him to pay £200 in compensation to the scheme and £200 in costs.
Councillor Helen Douglas City of York Council’s executive member for housing and safer neighbourhoods, said: “Although this is a low level fraud in monetary terms, this is a crime depriving those most vulnerable in society of much-needed support.
“This prosecution sends a strong message to those who commit such offences that we will take the necessary action to prevent this type of fraud.”