Anerley woman guilty of fraud and wasting time
Published Friday, 4 August 2017
A 36 year-old woman from Anerley guilty of fraud and wasting time.A 36 year-old woman from Anerley who finally pleaded guilty to four charges of fraud was sentenced to 16 weeks imprisonment which was suspended for 12 months. She was ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid work, to pay £5,000 in prosecution costs within 18 months and to pay an £80 victim surcharge. Mrs Anne-Marie Carr from Anerley Park Road, SE19, maintained her innocence right up to the day of the trial when she changed her plea to guilty on all four charges of fraud.
Mrs Carr said she had paid her Council Tax between 2011 and 2014 by Standing Order but in fact had provided Bromley Council with a number of false bank statements and letters purporting to be from her bank to show payments totalling £1749.49
The Greenwich Internal Audit and Anti-Fraud Team who work in partnership with Bromley Council, obtained Mrs Carr’s original bank statements under a production order and these revealed that those she provided to the Council had been altered. Mrs Carr removed a genuine transaction and replaced it with a ‘Standing Order debit’ to indicate she had made a ‘payment’ to Bromley Council. During an interview under caution with investigation officers, Mrs Carr denied she had manipulated her bank statements in any way and claimed she had received them in that format from the bank.
During sentencing at Croydon Crown Court on 22 June 2017, the Judge commented that Mrs Carr should be ‘ashamed of herself in wasting so many people’s time’, including the Citizens’ Advice Bureau who provide free advice for people with genuine problems. The investigation involved council officers going through thousands of records to check for payments she claimed she had made. Mrs Carr also involved her local Councillors and the Ombudsman in her scam, claiming that Bromley Council had made a mistake and could not trace her payments. Initially, the Ombudsman found against Bromley Council, awarding £150 compensation to Mrs Carr.
Cllr Neil Reddin, Chairman of Bromley Council’s Audit Committee said: “We welcome this result as it sends a clear message that fraud committed by such cheats will not be tolerated. This authority has a zero tolerance to fraud. It is a waste of public funds that are meant for those in genuine need.”
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