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Council housing fraudster ordered to pay back costs

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A former council housing resident, who narrowly avoided jail last year for committing housing fraud, has been ordered to pay costs to Dudley Council.

Mrs Annet Nemah Umuzia Cox failed to disclose her status as a homeowner when applying for council housing. She pleaded guilty to an offence under Section 2 & Section 3 of the Fraud Act 2006 in December, when she was sentenced to six months custody, suspended for 12 months.

Dudley Council took Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 proceedings against Cox and a Confiscation Order for £39,883.30, with £34,407.50 to be paid as compensation to DMBC, was made in court last month.  

Mrs Cox provided a false housing application to gain access to a Dudley Council property, which the council made specific adaptations amounting to £29,439.70.

The council also paid the rent, £2,078.37, and council tax, £399.84, at the property whilst it was being adapted due to it taking some time to undertake the adaptations. When Mrs Cox moved into the property, her owned property was then rented out privately creating an income of £5,240. 

Had she declared her correct circumstances, Cox would not have been eligible for a Dudley Council tenancy.

Alan Lunt, deputy chief executive and strategic director for place, said:

Housing fraud is a very serious matter and those who are tempted to try and cheat the system should be reminded that we will investigate and pursue thoroughly all instances of wrongdoing.
Our priority is rightly focused upon those who are most deserving and we will continue to help those who are most in need of council housing.

Failure for Cox to pay could result in imprisonment. She is no longer a council tenant.

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