An investigation into a council tax fraud involving forged tenancy agreements reached its conclusion in court last week. The individual provided City of York Council with three private tenancy agreements in order to obtain a reduction in her council tax, which were discovered to be forged. All three properties were in the York area.
Each tenancy agreement stated that the individual was the sole tenant at the property when in fact she had another adult living there. She received £1,202 in Council Tax Reduction and £618 in Single Person Discount that she was not entitled to. Veritau’s fraud team was alerted to this case following concerns that the documents provided were false. It was alleged that she used these in an attempt to claim reductions in her council tax.
An investigation was conducted and the woman was interviewed under caution. The case concluded with the defendant pleading guilty to one count of fraud and six charges of forgery and counterfeiting at York Magistrates Court on Monday 29 July 2019. She was sentenced on Tuesday 20 August to 20 days of rehabilitation activity and a 14 month custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months. An order was also made for her to repay £1,820.77 to the council; the amount of Council Tax Reduction and Single Person Discount fraudulently claimed, plus a £115 victim surcharge. Mitigating circumstances were put forward by the defence that the woman and her children have health issues and suffered a family bereavement two years ago.
Anyone with information on suspected fraudulent activity is encouraged to phone Veritau’s confidential hotline on 0800 9179 247.