AN INVESTIGATION discovered that a woman fraudulently claimed more than £4,500 in benefits — after she failed to declare she owned a house in Bulwell.
Tonicha Bilsbrough, of Portland Road, Giltbrook, faced six charges at Nottingham Magistrates Court after she was found to be illegally claiming income support and jobseekers’ allowance between November 2008 and September 2010.
She was prosecuted after a joint investigation by Broxtowe Borough Council and the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP).
The court heard that on her claim forms, Bilsbrough failed to declare she was living with a partner, who was also her landlord, and also failed to declare she owned the property in Bulwell.
She claimed her landlord, whom she said she was paying rent to of £550 per month, lived at the home in Bulwell.
But the investigation revealed that the landlord actually left her address in Giltbrook every morning to go to work and had given the property as his home address to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in respect of two vehicles he owned and of his driving licence.
He registered there for electoral purposes and gave it as his home address for various billing points and service providers.
It was discovered that Bilsbrough had owned the property in Bulwell since May 5 2006. She claimed this was the address she was given by her landlord to send her rent payments to when, in fact, she was renting this property out to her landlord’s brother for £500 per month.
As a result of her claims, she received £2,881.25 in income support and £1,683 in jobseekers’ allowance. Housing and council-tax benefit was never paid to her because Broxtowe Borough Council suspected the claim to be fraudulent.
In court, Bilsbrough pleaded guilty to all six offences. She was given a conditional discharge for the maximum length of three years and ordered to pay £300 towards prosecution costs.