Hertfordshire County Council prosecutes for over £75,000 worth of direct payment fraud
Published: 05 Jul 2019
A Hemel Hempstead husband received a two-year suspended prison sentence for fraudulently claiming £75,000 worth of care payments for his wife.
Stephen Soladoye, 50, of Melsted Avenue, Hemel Hempstead, pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court on Monday (01 July) to three counts of ‘fraud by false representation’ in relation to care payments from Hertfordshire County Council.
Soladoye’s wife was in receipt of a care package from 2013 to 2017, funded in full by Hertfordshire County Council, but Soladoye had failed to declare the couple’s true financial circumstances on application forms submitted to the council.
An investigation carried out by the county council found that Soladoye, who managed all the household finances, failed to declare on the financial assessment form that he and his wife jointly owned three properties, in addition to their family home in Hemel Hempstead.
Based on false information, Soladoye’s wife received direct payments to assist with her daily care needs. The court heard that as a result of Mr Soladoye’s dishonesty, the couple received more than £75,000 of public funds they were not entitled to between 2013 and 2017.
Mr Soladoye, who was of previous good character, pleaded guilty to all three offences and was sentenced to 24 months custody, suspended for two years. He was ordered to reappear at Luton Crown Court on 15 November 2019 for a confiscation hearing, under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance, Cllr Ralph Sangster said: “People often think that benefit or care payment fraud is a victimless crime but, in fact, it robs the people who truly need help and generates enormous costs that are borne by the public.
“The Shared Anti-Fraud Service and Hertfordshire County Council remain committed to investigating and prosecuting offences of fraud within the care sector.
“I would like to thank the officers who dealt with this case which once again highlights the importance of the Shared Anti-Fraud Service in bringing perpetrators to justice. We will now be seeking the return of this money to the public purse.”
Anyone with information about an allegation of fraud can report it in confidence by visiting www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/reportfraud or by contacting the Shared Anti-Fraud Service hotline on 0300 123 4033 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org .