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Coming together to fight fraud

Media Release : 23 August 2019

A Hailsham man was fined £500 and ordered to pay Council costs of nearly £1,500 for fraudulently claiming carers respite allowance.

Money

Mr Carlo Marcello, 52, of Beechwood Close, Hailsham, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud at Hastings Magistrates court on 12 August; one for false representation, and the second for falsifying documents for the purpose of committing fraud. 

Mr Marcello had failed to notify East Sussex County Council of a change in circumstances which affected his entitlement to carers respite allowance. As a result, he continued to claim the sum of £1901.20 by producing nine counterfeit invoices purporting to be from the care provider, and presenting these to the County Council.

On discovering the fraud, officers at ESCC raised the alarm with colleagues at Wealden District Council who conducted their own investigation into Mr Marcello’s claims history. Between the two Councils it was agreed that WDC would lead the joint investigation and subsequent prosecution.      

"This is an excellent example of District and County Councils working in partnership to protect the tax-payer from fraud," said Cllr Bob Standley, Leader of WDC and Cabinet Member for Governance and Finance.

"Fraudsters may be under the misconception that different Councils and even departments within the same organisation don't talk to each other - they're wrong. Our joined up working, alongside the many systems we have in place to detect fraud, means that we can and will catch those defrauding the Council at the tax-payers expense."  

As well as the £500 fine and criminal conviction, Mr Marcello was ordered to pay Wealden District Council’s costs of £1,430 and a victim surcharge of £50.

For anyone receiving benefits of any kind, all changes in personal circumstances should be reported to the local authority responsible immediately. For Wealden's Benefits Team call 01323 443500. For East Sussex County Council welfare benefits helpline visit: <a href=”https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/community/benefits/help/”>www.eastsussex.gov.uk/community/benefits/help/</a>