An Eastbourne woman has gone on trial at a London court accused of a £43,000 benefits fraud.
It was alleged at Isleworth Crown Court that Lindsey Jean Vine, 51, who lives with her father and children at 191 Princes Road pretended she was still a resident at the housing association-owned property which was financed by the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.
She has pleaded not guilty to dishonestly failing to notify a change in circumstances to the council and seven counts of dishonestly making false representations to them in relation to her claims for housing benefit and council tax benefit in respect of the property at 34 Delmerend House, Ixworth Place, Chelsea.
The charges cover the period from February, 2004 until February last year. The Council claims she was living at the family home in Eastbourne, which she secretly joint-owns with her father, while continuing to confirm in repeated assessment forms that she was residing in Chelsea.
Prosecutor Paul Sharkey told the court, “This case is about a benefit fraud Lindsey Vine committed to obtain over £43,000 in housing benefit and council tax benefit from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea by failing to declare certain circumstances about where she was living.
“From September 2002 onwards she began residing in Eastbourne with her father but she failed to declare to Kensington and Chelsea that she was normally resident in Eastbourne.
“A council investigation began after her housing association informed the council they believed she was not occupying the property.
“She jointly-owned her father’s property since 1997, which she never declared to the council when asked in the application form if she owned property.
“From September, 2002 her children attended schools in Eastbourne, she was employed in Eastbourne and most of her financial affairs were registered in Eastbourne.”
Mr Sharkey said what she had done was dishonest and that she had falsely represented to the council she was still living at the premises in London in order to continue receiving benefit.
He continued, “Mrs Vine says she began staying at her father’s address in 2002 to look after her elderly father and even though she lived there for considerable periods she did not consider it her home.”
The hearing continues.