An investigation carried out by City of York Council has uncovered and successfully prosecuted a serious case of Council Tax fraud of almost £6,000.
Christopher Cuinu (aged 52) of Blossom Street, York, claimed Council Tax Support on the basis of being unemployed, obtaining £5882.41 from the public purse over a six year period.
Veritau, the council’s fraud investigation service, carried out an investigation into his claim for a reduction to his council tax liability.
The investigation was conducted following claims that Mr Cuinu owned and managed a café in York for a considerable period of time and fraudulently sought unemployment benefits.
During the course of the investigation, it was also discovered that Mr. Cuinu was receiving rent from a domestic property which he owned but hadn’t declared to officers.
Mr. Cuinu was interviewed under caution and admitted that he had opened a café in 2013, and that he hadn’t declared the change in his circumstances to the council.
He also admitted to owning property and that he had failed to declare this when he first made the Council Tax Support claim.
Mr Cuinu pleaded guilty to all charges at York Magistrates Court on 18/12/2018, where he was sentenced to 12 month Community Order with the requirement that he completes 150 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £589 and the court surcharge of £85.
Councillor Jenny Brooks, executive member with responsibility for fraud, said: “Fraud against the council deprives residents of vital public services and has the greatest impact on those who are the most vulnerable in society. We will continue to investigate and prosecute anyone who engages in fraudulent activity against the council.”
“We encourage anyone with any information on fraudulent activity to phone the fraud hotline on 0800 9179 247 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”