A Burgess Hill resident has been prosecuted and sentenced after fraudulently claiming more than £39,000 in Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and Pension Credit.
In October 2007, William Bruford of Roman Court, Burgess Hill married a woman who was working and moved into her home in Redhill.
He failed to tell the Council or the Department of Work and Pensions about his change in circumstance and continued to claim benefits to which he was not entitled.
This failure led to him being overpaid £20,245 of Housing Benefit, £3,954 of Council Tax Benefit and £14,875 of Pension Credit from October 2007 to May 2012. At Brighton Magistrates’ Court on 5 December 2013, 73 year old Mr Bruford pleaded guilty to three offences associated with failing to tell the Council and the Department for Work and Pensions about a change in his circumstances. On 3 February 2014, Mr Bruford was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court to four months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to wear a tag for two months that will confine him to his home from 10pm to 6am every night.
Mr Bruford is also required to pay back the overpaid Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and Pension Credit.
“Benefit fraud is an attack on every hardworking taxpayer in Mid Sussex who plays by the rules,” said Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Cabinet Member for Finance and Service Delivery. “In these tough financial times there are many residents who are in genuine need of the help and support that benefits provide and that’s why we are committed to catching fraudsters and making sure that benefits are only paid to those who are legitimately entitled to them. “The Council works closely with the Department of Work and Pensions to identify, investigate and prosecute cases of benefit fraud. Members of the public can help by reporting suspected fraud anonymously via the Council’s website www.midsussex.gov.uk or fraud hotline 01444 477400.”