Fraudster electronically tagged

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Fraudster electronically tagged

Friday April 27, 2012

A benefit fraudster from the White City Estate has been placed under a 30 day curfew and ordered to wear an electronic tag.

Caterina Kouassi, 61 claimed housing benefit and council tax benefit since at least 2002, for herself, her partner and her children.

But she failed to tell Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council that one of her children had started to work and was no longer entitled to the hand-outs.

The council’s corporate anti fraud team investigated and uncovered that additional benefits had been paid to Caterina Kouassi for almost three years.

Kouassi originally told the council that her daughter was living in Birmingham but the investigation revealed that there was no trace of Kouassi’s daughter living anywhere else other that the White City property that the defendant was receiving benefit for.

Kouassi pleaded guilty at Hammersmith Magistrates on March 27, 2012 and was sentenced at the same court on April 25.

She was placed under curfew for 30 days from 9pm to 6am and told to wear an electronic tag.

Cllr Greg Smith, cabinet member for residents’ services, said: “Benefit fraud will not be tolerated in Hammersmith & Fulham and we will continue to bring those who cheat the system to justice. This woman will be spending a lot of time at home during the next month and I hope that every time she looks at the electronic tag fastened around her ankle, she feels nothing but shame.”

In total, she defrauded the council out of £5,971 of housing benefit and £1,028 of council tax benefit.

» Send us your comments now

Agree with the comment from Nick. You don't say that she had to pay the money back - why not? Staying indoors for a month is a curious penalty (many of your elderly and isolated residents will be doing that month in and month out whether they like it or not) and is hardly going to deter other people from doing this. How does it fit the crime? I'm unlcear what kind of message you think this is sending? Feels confused ...
From Bassman on 07/05/2012 at 14:00
Not much of a penalty, is it, that a 61 year-old has to be indoors at night for a month. I hope you're getting her to repay the money, and kicking her out of the flat!
From Nick on 30/04/2012 at 14:05

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