Fareham Borough Council have successfully taken action against a family who fraudulently claimed Housing Benefit.
Maisie Keophaithool and her two sons Pat Keogh and Charlie Keo pleaded guilty to charges of attempted and actual fraud in court last week.
The benefits team at Fareham Borough Council have been investigating the family since January 2013 after Mrs Keophaithool submitted a suspicious application. It transpired that son Pat Keogh, is his Mother's landlord to whom she paid no rent. Neither mother nor son declared the relationship when making the claim,
Fareham Borough Councils investigation discovered this was not the first time the family used the strategy to claim benefits. In 2009 and 2010 younger son Charlie Keo was awarded Housing Benefit based on falsified documents. The investigation revealed no rental payments had ever been made to his landlord brother.
All three family members pleaded guilty to all charges. Maisie Keophaithool was charged with 2 counts of making a false representation, breaching the Fraud Act, and 4 counts of providing false documents. Charlie Keo was charged with 1 count of false representation, breaching the Fraud Act, and 2 counts of providing false documents. Pat Keogh was charged with 6 counts of making an article with intent for it to be used to commit or assist in the commission of fraud.
The court ordered Charlie Keo to return £3,700, and each have to pay £280 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Sean Woodward has said "The Council's benefits investigation team have made a real impact investigating attempts like this, recovering thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money. Members of the public often make a difference in helping us detect fraud and we are grateful to anyone who contacts us with information. If you have any suspicions about benefit cheats please get in touch with the council using our fraud hotline 01329 824667, I can guarantee all information is treated in the strictest confidence."
For further information contact:
Jacey Jarman, PR & Marketing Officer, 01329 824518
fax: 01329 550576, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This and previous media releases can be viewed on the Council's website: www.fareham.gov.uk/pressreleases
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