Stevenage benefit fraudster convicted

Published: 07 Apr 2017

A Stevenage resident who dishonestly claimed housing benefit and council tax discounts has been convicted of fraud, following an investigation by the Hertfordshire Shared Anti-Fraud Service.

Appearing at Cambridge Crown Court on Thursday 6 April 2017, Sonia Reguieg (48), of Sish Lane, Stevenage, received a prison sentence for two counts of fraud against Stevenage Borough Council.

The court heard how Reguieg had claimed benefits from the council claiming to be a single parent living at her Stevenage council house between 2007 and 2016. The council became suspicious about her claims in 2016 when she applied to buy her house and declared that her partner had just moved in with her.

A six month investigation by the Shared Anti-Fraud Service revealed that Reguieg had been living with her partner continuously since 2007 but had never declared this on her claims for benefits and discounts. As a result of her failing to report the circumstances to Stevenage Borough Council between 2007 and 2016 she fraudulently obtained more than £21,000 in various benefits and discounts from the council.

In mitigation, the court heard that during the period concerned Reguieg had suffered a number of traumatic personal events and that her relationship with her partner had sometimes been strained. Reguieg was of previous good character, currently works as a teaching assistant, supports her family and suffers from ill-health.

Having pleaded guilty to the charges, and receiving credit for this, Reguieg received a seven month prison sentence that was suspended for 18 months.

Anyone with information about a housing, council tax or blue badge fraud can report it in confidence by e-mailing or by calling the Shared Anti-Fraud Service hotline on 0300 123 4033.