A Luton man who lied about paying rent on his council property and falsified a number of documents to try and back up his claim has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Adam Maslin, 24, of Whipperley Way, Luton, a second-year computer game development and graphic design student at the University of Bedfordshire, found himself in serious arrears on the property he rented from Central Bedfordshire Council.
After his student loan failed to come through, Maslin was left unable to pay the rent on the home in Britain Street, Dunstable, at which he was a council tenant.
After being offered the chance to deal with the problem by Central Bedfordshire, Maslin told the council that he had already paid £2,400 in rent.
He tried to back up his claim by giving to the council falsified receipts, manipulated bank statements and a fake letter from the bank purportedly confirming the payments which were never actually made. However, Maslin was caught out after using incorrect dates, duplicating authorisation codes and using different sized fonts.
When he was interviewed by the council’s fraud investigator on 11 September 2014, Maslin maintained he was innocent of any wrongdoing. And he said that the payments he claimed to have made to the council were left in limbo as he had forgotten to put in an authorisation code.
Maslin failed to respond to demands for proof of what he had said in the interview, and enquiries with his bank confirmed that he had manipulated his bank statements and falsified a letter from the bank.
Maslin pleaded guilty to fraud at Luton Magistrates’ Court and yesterday was sentenced to an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.
Maslin was also ordered to pay £500 towards the prosecution costs and an £80 surcharge to the court. And he will also have to repay the £3,051.68 in rent which he owes the council.
Anyone who suspects that someone is committing fraud against Central Bedfordshire Council can call the council’s confidential 24-hour fraud hotline on 0300 300 5476.