Letting agent to pay £3,200 after benefit fraud

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An agent who claimed nearly £4,900 in housing benefit despite renting out a house she co-owned has been given a 12 month community order and ordered to pay a total of £3,258 in costs and a victim surcharge. 

Toni Wenlock from Rugby denies dishonestly making a statement to Rugby council in order to claim £4,830 in housing benefit; she also denies failing to tell the council of a change in her circumstances.

The court has heard that Wenlock applied for housing benefit in July 2012 claiming she received no income to pay her rent.; later that year she became self-employed as an estate agent but remained eligible for the benefit.

However, the council then discovered that Wenlock part-owned a house in the town, rented out for over £650 pcm. 

Wenlock’s defence told the court that she had paid back the wrongly claimed benefit and that medicine for a health condition had led her to fill in the housing benefit application form incorrectly. 

However, magistrates gave Wenlock a 12 month community order, consisting of a 12 month supervision order and a three month curfew from 8pm to 8am, enforced by an electronic tag. She must also pay £3,198 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.