Brentwood benefits cheats must pay back taxpayers
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Two benefit cheats have been ordered to pay back the money they illegally claimed.
Nina Bellia, 24, of The Drive, Brentwood, was overpaid nearly £8,500 in housing and council tax benefits after she failed to tell the authorities that she started a new job.
She pleaded guilty to the offences last week and was ordered to pay £300 costs, a £160 fine, and a £20 victim surcharge, at Basildon Magistrates’ Court, for the offences that took place between September 2011 and September 2013.
Paul Coletti, 50, of Church Lane, Brentwood, was prosecuted the same day after failing to tell Brentwood Council that his jobseekers’ allowance had stopped and he had started work.
He was overpaid more than £7,000 in housing and council tax benefits between October 2012 and March 2013.
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Coletti pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay £300 costs, a £220 fine, and a victim surcharge of £22.
Brentwood Borough Council’s chair of the audit and scrutiny committee, Cllr Graeme Clark, said: “Benefit fraud is a crime that takes money away from those who really need it.
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“We are determined to prosecute those who make fraudulent claims and make sure they give the money back.”
Benefit fraud can be reported anonymously on the council’s confidential fraud hotline on 0800 0281492 or email firstname.lastname@example.org