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Benefit fraudsters sentenced after cheating taxpayer out of thousands 07.11.11

Sutton has underlined its reputation for zero tolerance of benefit fraud by prosecuting two men for cheating the taxpayer out of thousands of pounds.

Tesco worker Gnanendran Canagaratnam, 49, and self-employed builder Patrick Carter, 40, were both taken to court for housing and council tax benefit offences.

Croydon magistrates heard Canagaratnam, formerly of Inverness Road, Worcester Park, received benefits because he only worked part-time and his wife didn't have a job.

But when his wife got a full-time job as a production assistant in October 2008, he failed to declare it – and subsequently received overpayments of £14,558.97.

At court, he pleaded guilty to an offence of failing to declare a change in his circumstances to obtain housing and council tax benefit. 

The magistrates sentenced the defendant, who now lives in Hereford Way, Chessington,  to 100 hours of community service to be completed within 12 months and ordered him to pay court costs of £80. He will also have to repay every penny

Passing sentence, the bench said:  "This is a very serious offence against the public purse which was carried out over a sustained period of time and involves a large overpayment of benefits."

Carter, of Stayton Road, Sutton, pleaded guilty to two charges of making false statements to obtain housing and council tax benefit and Jobseekers Allowance.

Magistrates heard he had failed to tell the relevant authorities he was self employed as a builder, which resulted in an overpayment of benefits totalling £9,789.87.

The court ordered him to carry out 70 hours community service, pay £40 costs and repay the money.

Councillor John Drage, Sutton Council's Executive member for Finance and Efficiency, said:

"We have an excellent track record of bringing culprits to justice. Both of these men now have criminal records, will have to repay the money they fraudulently obtained, pay fines and costs as well as serving the sentences that have been passed by the court.

The council is fully aware of its responsibility to protect the public purse. The vast majority of our residents work hard to pay for their local services and so it is vital that we continue to expose fraud and wrongdoing of this kind to ensure that our resources are directed at the services most needed."

Last updated: Monday, 19 December 2011

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