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£23,000 fraud case in York and Bradford


5:43pm 3rd October 2011

The police have helped to tackle a large case of benefit fraud carried out over a four year period in York and Bradford.

An investigation was instigated by Veritau, a specialist company which investigates fraud on behalf of City of York Council.

Mark Craven and his partner Suzanne Milns were originally arrested in 2007 for allegedly falsely claiming £23,072.35 in benefits, consisting of housing and council tax benefit claimed at various properties in Bradford and York. In 2008 before their trial was scheduled, Mark Craven travelled to Thailand and remained there for over two years, he was arrested at the airport on his return to the UK in September 2010.

Suzanne Millns was previously sentenced to nine months imprisonment in October 2008 for her involvement in the benefit fraud. She admitted to falsely completing claim forms and tenancy agreements for the properties linked to Mark Craven, she had also pleaded guilty to 11 charges of benefit fraud committed between the period of September 2003 and November 2007.

Mark Craven appeared at York Crown Court on Friday 30th September 2011 where he entered a guilty plea to 11 charges of Housing and Council Tax benefit fraud, along with a further charge relating to the Bail Act.  Mark Craven admitted to signing tenancy agreements and other documents relating to benefit claims at Bellhouse Way and Stirrup Close, York.

As a result of his fraudulent activity Mark Craven was charged with defrauding the council of £20,802.36 in Housing Benefit, £2,269.99 in Council Tax Benefit. Mr Craven pleaded guilty in York Crown Court on Friday 30th September 2011 and was sentenced to a 6 month sentence suspended for 18 months, an 18 month supervision order and a 3 month curfew order.

A spokesperson for Veritau said:

“We would like to thank North Yorkshire Police and the Department for Work and Pensions for their assistance with this investigation.

“This fraud was identified by a member of the council’s Housing Benefit department.  We would like to thank that member of staff for spotting the fraud and reporting it to the Fraud Team. We encourage anyone with any information on fraudulent activity to phone the hotline on 01904 552935 or email fraud@york.gov.uk

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