Community sentences for benefit fraud pair
Published Tuesday 7th August 12 in Council - news and information releases news
A dishonest couple who claimed benefits they were not entitled to have been ordered to carry out unpaid community work.
Officers from Southend-on-Sea Borough Council's Corporate Fraud Team made enquiries about Ezweni Moyo and his partner Virginia Ndlovu after receiving an anonymous tip-off.
The informant claimed that Moyo, 40, who has been in receipt of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit since March 2009, had failed to declare he worked at a care home in Westcliff.
It was also alleged that Ndlovu, 38, worked at the same home and that both had continued to claim Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) despite having jobs.
Magistrates in Southend heard that Ndlovu informed the Council when she obtained work at Redspot Homecare and the couple's benefits were adjusted accordingly.
But Moyo did not declare that he was working at the home and Ndlovu also failed to tell JobCentre Plus she had got a job, continuing to claim JSA.
Council fraud officers contacted Redspot who confirmed that Moyo had been working as a self-employed driver for them since March 2009.
They supplied details of the wages paid to him and also confirmed Ndlovu's period of employment.
When interviewed under caution later she admitted failing to declare her own and her husband's employment to JobCentre Plus.
Moyo denied being in paid employment despite being confronted with the evidence provided by Redspot.
He initially claimed he had been driving for them to gain a reference and had only received expenses, but later admitted working for pay.
The court heard that Moyo wrongly received £3,194.40p of JSA, £3,460 in Housing Benefit and £684.34p in Council Tax Benefit. Ndlovu wrongly received £2,062.26p of JSA.
Moyo was ordered to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work and pay £100 towards prosecution costs. Ndlovu was sentenced to 60 hours of unpaid work and also ordered to pay £100 costs.
The couple, from Cambridge Road , Southend, were also ordered to pay back all their wrongly claimed benefits.
Executive Councillor for Corporate Support Services, Andrew Moring, said: "Benefit fraud is not a victimless crime - it affects every resident through higher taxes or reduced services.
"We are committed to supporting those members of society who need our help but we take a zero tolerance approach to anyone who abuses the system."
If you suspect someone of committing benefit fraud call 01702-215254 during office hours, 01702-215215 out of hours or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org