A former Luton resident who failed to report a change in her circumstances to the Council and the Department for Work and Pensions has been convicted of benefit fraud.
Maria Dikatukidi, aged 42, formerly of Fitzwarin Close, Luton, appeared at Luton Magistrates Court on Monday September 22 after she pleaded guilty to fraud offences.
The court heard how teams from the Council and the Department for Work and Pensions had investigated the circumstances of her benefit claims and discovered that she had failed to report her husband had been living with her.
In failing to notify this change, she fraudulently obtained housing benefit of £19,318.99, council tax benefit of £3,190.81 and income support of £15,267.87.
Dikatukidi has to repay these funds in full to the Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.
Having entered a guilty plea, Dikatukidi was sentenced to a total of eight months in prison.
Cllr Mohammed Ashraf, Portfolio Holder for finance, said: “Benefit fraud is stealing and society takes a dim view of theft. If your circumstances change in any way you must tell us immediately or risk a criminal record, fine, and possibly a prison sentence.
“People who claim at the expense of tax payers when they are not entitled to do so can be assured the Council will catch up with them and work relentlessly to bring them before the courts.”
>The Council welcomes detailed information from the public about benefit fraudsters and encourages people to contact the fraud hotline in confidence on 0500 500 777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org