Harpenden man fined for benefit fraud

PUBLISHED: 19:03 10 February 2010 | UPDATED: 14:53 06 May 2010

MORE than £2,000 will have to be repaid by a man who claimed housing benefits he was not entitled to for a room in Radlett. Giovanni Finco, 41, who now lives in Avenue St Nicholas, Harpenden, was claiming benefit for a room he claimed to be renting in Cra

MORE than £2,000 will have to be repaid by a man who claimed housing benefits he was not entitled to for a room in Radlett.

Giovanni Finco, 41, who now lives in Avenue St Nicholas, Harpenden, was claiming benefit for a room he claimed to be renting in Craigweil Avenue, Radlett, after he moved out.

Hertsmere borough council took him to Watford Magistrates Court on Friday where he pleaded guilty to an offence under the Social Security Administration Act.

The court heard that Finco failed to notify a change in circumstances when he moved out of the room in Craigweil Avenue in September 2008. Instead he continued to claim housing benefit of £86 per week with payments being made into his bank account.

A council investigation revealed that he had actually only lived at the Radlett address for two weeks and had not paid any rent for the room since September 22, 2008.

Yet he had received housing benefit payments until March 31, 2009, which resulted in him obtaining £2,408 of payments that he was not entitled to.

Finco was given a conditional discharge for 12 months and was also ordered to pay £150 towards the council's prosecution costs and repay the £2,408 of housing benefit he claimed.

Cllr John Graham, finance and property portfolio holder for Hertsmere council, said: "We hope this sends out a clear message that Hertsmere has zero tolerance for benefit fraud and we will continue to use all our powers to recover money from those who try to cheat the system.


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