Curfew for benefit fraudsters

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Two Cambridge residents received curfews for benefit fraud at Cambridge Magistrates Court on Thursday 28 August; after they were caught committing fraud against Cambridge City Council.

The council's fraud investigation team discovered that Mr Szczepan Kunkowski, aged 29, of Hills Road, Cambridge, took more than £3,500 in housing benefit which he wasn't entitled to. This was because he had claimed benefits but failed to tell the council that both he and his wife were both in paid employment. He pleaded guilty to one charge and, by way of punishment, will be electronically monitored for four months. He was ordered to pay costs to the council as well.

In a separate case, Mr Halil Pekmezci, aged 38, of Princess Court, Cambridge was also discovered to have failed to tell the council that he had an additional income, meaning he took more than £1,000 in housing benefit that he wasn't entitled to. Pleading guilty to one charge, he also received a curfew order. The fact that this was not the first time that he had committed benefit fraud was taken into account and accordingly he was also given a four month prison sentence, which was suspended for 12 months. Furthermore, he was ordered to pay costs of £1,000 to the council.

Cllr George Owers, Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources, said: "The council will always act firmly and swiftly against those who steal from our community. Fraud gives the honest majority of claimants a bad name and is an insult to the many people who claim fairly and squarely what they are entitled to.

"In addition to their sentences, which I hope will act as a deterrent to others; these two men will have to pay back every penny of public money that they took.

"I would encourage anyone who has a reasonable suspicion that benefit fraud is occurring to report it for free and in strictest confidence on 0800 328 0572."

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