Couple convicted after cheating taxpayers out of £120,000
A couple who cheated taxpayers out of more than £120,000 have been convicted following a two year probe.
Diane Ashley of Surridge Court, Brixton, failed to declare she was married to her landlord, Rudolph Pink, or that she co-owned a string or properties when she began claiming housing benefit from Lambeth council in 2008.
In January 2010, town hall investigators launched a probe into Mrs Ashley's benefits claims following allegations she had failed to declare income from other properties she owned.
The council began to suspect Mrs Ashley had a relationship with Rudolph Pink, the man she claimed was her landlord at Surridge Court.
It was discovered she owned a property at Carholme Road, Catford and jointly owned a house in Margate with Mr Pink. But she failed to declare them when claiming housing benefit.
The couple were arrested following a search of her Catford property in November 2010, where officers found a marriage certificate confirming Mr Pink and Mrs Ashley were husband and wife.
Mrs Ashley fraudulently claimed £56,939 in housing benefit and jobseekers allowance payments from Lambeth council and Thanet District council.
Her husband cheated £67,248 in benefits from Lewisham council for the Carholme Road property.
On April 10, the crooked couple were sentenced at Inner London Crown Court, where Mrs Ashley was handed a 52 week sentence, suspended for 12 months, owing to a "very serious medical issues" she had recently suffered. Mr Pink was jailed for 10 months.
A spokesman for Lambeth Council said: "People who claim benefits they are not entitled to are stealing from the public purse and we will pursue those who do so relentlessly through the courts."
If you have any information about someone you suspect to be committing benefit fraud you can call Lambeth Council’s anti-fraud hotline on 020 7926 1111