Bromley resident denied false claims but was found guilty

Published Wednesday, 17 July 2019

A 37-year-old woman from Rangefield Road, Bromley was convicted of four charges of Council Tax Benefit/Support fraud and was sentenced to 40 weeks custody, suspended for 24 months on 1 July, 2019.

Ms Mason-James is also required to pay £520 towards prosecution costs and repay Bromley Council a total of £7764.71.

The offences were falsely claiming Council Tax Benefit/Support. Ms Mason-James was awarded Council Tax Benefit/Support for the periods from 1st November 2010 to 18th December 2015 and from 7th February 2017 to 1st May 2018 totalling £5636.83. She had claimed to be a lone parent when in fact her husband was also living with her. 

Ms Mason-James had also claimed a Single Person Discount from London Borough of Bromley for the period 20th June 2012 to 18th December 2015 and from 7th February 2017 until 1st May 2018 totalling £2,127.88

Ms Mason-James denied living with her husband during an interview with Royal Borough of Greenwich investigators, who work in partnership with Bromley Council, and so attended trial at Bexley Magistrates Court on the 10 June 2019 where she was found guilty of the four offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and the Social Security Administration Act 1992 as amended.  

The District Judge commented that Ms Mason-James showed no remorse in having offended for some seven years and acknowledged that these cases are difficult to investigate and prove and that the sentence should act as a deterrent.  

Councillor Neil Reddin Chairman of Bromley’s Audit Committee said: “Not only did this person defraud the council of taxpayers’ money, but she showed no remorse when she was found out. It is only right that we send out a clear message that fraud committed by cheats will not be tolerated. Those who claim for support they are not entitled to are committing fraud that represents a financial loss to Bromley Council. It is a waste of public funds that are meant for those in genuine need.”