Fraudster jailed for claiming he lived in his uninhabitable Southend basement to claim housing benefit

The

The "flat" Roy Vassell claimed to be living in

First published in Echo News by

A MAN who made up a Southend address to claim housing benefit has been jailed.

Roy Vassell, 47, of Guildford Road, Guildford, was handed a 12 week prison sentence for 15 counts of housing benefit fraud after magistrates found him guilty.

He must also pay back £1,615.54 of wrongfully-obtained housing benefit.

Mr Vassell received this amount in housing benefit from Southend Council, for what he described as a basement flat in Clifftown Road, Southend, but the council later cancelled his claim after he failed to reply to a request for more information.

However Mr Vassell then asked the Council for £4,100 worth of housing benefit to cover the rent arrears he said he owed his landlord.

He said that the landlord had hired a debt recovery company which was pursuing him for the money, which turned out to be his own company.

Vassell was jailed at Basildon Magistrates' Court on May 9.

The council’s corporate director for corporate services, Sally Holland said: “Although we are committed to paying benefits to those who are entitled, it also has a duty to protect the public purse and take action against people committing benefit fraud.

“It is an offence to claim benefits fraudulently and, as this case shows can lead to imprisonment as well as the repayment of the benefits.

“If anyone has suspicions over a person entitlement to benefit they can call the Corporate Fraud Investigation Team direct on 01702 215254, or e-mail counterfraud@southend.gov.uk.

“All information received is treated in the strictest confidence.”

Comments (10)

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2:04pm Fri 16 May 14

supermadmax says...

Fair enough, he knew what he was doing got caught .

Seems like a lot of hassle for £1600, to really make the big cash you need to do it in multiple identities and end the claims within a reasonable time scale.

Most of you lot and the public in general despise those who commit benefit fraud but this is a drop in the ocean compared to business tax fraud and the gary barlows of this world.
Fair enough, he knew what he was doing got caught . Seems like a lot of hassle for £1600, to really make the big cash you need to do it in multiple identities and end the claims within a reasonable time scale. Most of you lot and the public in general despise those who commit benefit fraud but this is a drop in the ocean compared to business tax fraud and the gary barlows of this world. supermadmax
  • Score: -4

4:02pm Fri 16 May 14

Keptquiettillnow says...

Should give him an amnesty, like the liar MP's got
Should give him an amnesty, like the liar MP's got Keptquiettillnow
  • Score: 0

5:17pm Fri 16 May 14

runwellian says...

The on thing I have learnt is that crime does pay!
The on thing I have learnt is that crime does pay! runwellian
  • Score: 4

5:36pm Fri 16 May 14

Living the La Vida Legra says...

Offer people £500 to grass up people. And watch the phones light up
Offer people £500 to grass up people. And watch the phones light up Living the La Vida Legra
  • Score: 14

6:18pm Fri 16 May 14

the25man says...

If enough of these Benefit Thieves get caught maybe the cuts to other services can be saved
If enough of these Benefit Thieves get caught maybe the cuts to other services can be saved the25man
  • Score: 7

7:55pm Fri 16 May 14

poortaxpayer says...

It is very very rare - almost exceptional - for someone to be jailed for such a small amount of fraud. Normally only those with £75k+ of benefit fraud get jailed. The overwhelming majority 90%+ get suspended sentences and fines.
It is very very rare - almost exceptional - for someone to be jailed for such a small amount of fraud. Normally only those with £75k+ of benefit fraud get jailed. The overwhelming majority 90%+ get suspended sentences and fines. poortaxpayer
  • Score: 9

9:54pm Fri 16 May 14

Living the La Vida Legra says...

the25man wrote:
If enough of these Benefit Thieves get caught maybe the cuts to other services can be saved
That is a " no brainer ". And so annoying!!!!!
I pay tax to help people at their lowest ebb But this is how my money is wasted
[quote][p][bold]the25man[/bold] wrote: If enough of these Benefit Thieves get caught maybe the cuts to other services can be saved[/p][/quote]That is a " no brainer ". And so annoying!!!!! I pay tax to help people at their lowest ebb But this is how my money is wasted Living the La Vida Legra
  • Score: 4

7:43am Sat 17 May 14

Motherlode says...

Living the La Vida Legra wrote:
the25man wrote:
If enough of these Benefit Thieves get caught maybe the cuts to other services can be saved
That is a " no brainer ". And so annoying!!!!!
I pay tax to help people at their lowest ebb But this is how my money is wasted
Actually, it wouldn't help much at all. 0.7 per cent of total benefit expenditure is overpaid because of fraud. It's a drop in the ocean compared to large corporates who avoid paying tax and NHS fraud, which between them cost more than 20 times as much.
If you really care about your national and local tax money being collected spent properly, care about nepotism in local government, dodgy contracts and corporate tax avoidance.
[quote][p][bold]Living the La Vida Legra[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]the25man[/bold] wrote: If enough of these Benefit Thieves get caught maybe the cuts to other services can be saved[/p][/quote]That is a " no brainer ". And so annoying!!!!! I pay tax to help people at their lowest ebb But this is how my money is wasted[/p][/quote]Actually, it wouldn't help much at all. 0.7 per cent of total benefit expenditure is overpaid because of fraud. It's a drop in the ocean compared to large corporates who avoid paying tax and NHS fraud, which between them cost more than 20 times as much. If you really care about your national and local tax money being collected spent properly, care about nepotism in local government, dodgy contracts and corporate tax avoidance. Motherlode
  • Score: 8

10:33am Sat 17 May 14

Blind Haze says...

'Guildford Road, Guildford'?
'Guildford Road, Guildford'? Blind Haze
  • Score: 3

1:09pm Mon 19 May 14

Nebs says...

Motherlode wrote:
Living the La Vida Legra wrote:
the25man wrote:
If enough of these Benefit Thieves get caught maybe the cuts to other services can be saved
That is a " no brainer ". And so annoying!!!!!
I pay tax to help people at their lowest ebb But this is how my money is wasted
Actually, it wouldn't help much at all. 0.7 per cent of total benefit expenditure is overpaid because of fraud. It's a drop in the ocean compared to large corporates who avoid paying tax and NHS fraud, which between them cost more than 20 times as much.
If you really care about your national and local tax money being collected spent properly, care about nepotism in local government, dodgy contracts and corporate tax avoidance.
People do care about those things, but they are allowed to care about benefit fraud as well.
[quote][p][bold]Motherlode[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Living the La Vida Legra[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]the25man[/bold] wrote: If enough of these Benefit Thieves get caught maybe the cuts to other services can be saved[/p][/quote]That is a " no brainer ". And so annoying!!!!! I pay tax to help people at their lowest ebb But this is how my money is wasted[/p][/quote]Actually, it wouldn't help much at all. 0.7 per cent of total benefit expenditure is overpaid because of fraud. It's a drop in the ocean compared to large corporates who avoid paying tax and NHS fraud, which between them cost more than 20 times as much. If you really care about your national and local tax money being collected spent properly, care about nepotism in local government, dodgy contracts and corporate tax avoidance.[/p][/quote]People do care about those things, but they are allowed to care about benefit fraud as well. Nebs
  • Score: 2

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