A RYEDALE benefit cheat has been ordered to pay £106,000 after being jailed for an eight-year fraud.
Sarah Elizabeth Dean was given a one-year prison sentence last April after she falsely claimed £44,698 in housing and council tax benefit despite owning two houses in York.
The 49-year-old, of Barton-le-Willows, was brought back to court this week to face confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act following an investigation by Ryedale District Council and investigators Veritau, described as a “landmark case” for the authority.
Dean rented out both the houses she owned over the eight years she was pocketing benefits she was not entitled to. She did not declare she owned them, nor the income she received from them nor the building society account through which the money was paid. She admitted eight charges when she was sentenced last year.
The confiscation hearing at York Crown Court saw her being ordered to pay £39,102.52 in compensation and a further £55,307, which was deemed to be the amount she received in rent by letting out the homes while claiming benefits. She must also pay full legal costs totalling £11,720.
Angela Jones, the council’s business support manager, said: “I am delighted with this result, as this was a very serious case of fraud against the council.
“The council has again shown it will not tolerate fraud against it and will take the appropriate legal action against the people who commit it, which this time included the proceeds of crime.”
A Veritau spokesman said: “We are pleased the severity of this crime has been recognised not just in the sentence handed down to the defendant, but also with the awards made in court.
“Funds lost to the public purse have been successfully recovered and this sends a clear message that crime does not pay.”