Burgess Hill woman convicted of benefit fraud after dishonestly claiming thousands of pounds
A woman from Burgess Hill has been convicted of benefit fraud after failing to disclose, for two years, that she was no longer a single parent living alone, according to the district council.
Mid Sussex District Council said Briony Nunne, 27, of West Park Crescent, dishonestly claimed more than £18,600 in income support.
Mrs Nunne was claiming support from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and council tax support and housing benefit from the district council 'on the basis that she was a single parent living alone', a spokesperson said.
However, in February 2017, she married Michael Nunne and 'failed to tell relevant authorities about her change in circumstances'.
The spokesperson added: "The DWP received a fraud allegation on June 16, 2017 stating that the claimant and her partner has been together for at least two years.
"A subsequent investigation revealed this to be the case and the DWP prosecuted Mrs Dunne for benefit fraud."
The district council said that, on August 13 this year, Mrs Nunne pleaded guilty at Horsham Magistrates Court to dishonestly making a statement or representation to the DWP and Mid Sussex District Council with a view to obtaining a benefit, advantage or other payment.
The spokesperson added: "Mrs Nunne was sentenced to a 12-month community order, which requires her to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work in the community. She was also given a 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement, ordering her to complete activities that are designed to reduce the prospect of her re-offending.
"The court ordered Mrs Nunne to pay the DWP costs of £170 and a victim surcharge of £85."
Mrs Nunne is also required to pay back all the overpaid income support, council tax support and housing benefit, the district council confirmed.
Councillor Ruth De Mierre, cabinet member for customer services said: “The council will always take firm action against the very small minority of benefit claimants who seek to cheat and be a drain on the wallets and purses of our law abiding Mid Sussex residents.
"Members of the public can help us catch these cheats by reporting suspected fraud anonymously via the council’s website or the National Fraud Hotline 0800 854 440.”