AN EALING mother-of-two has narrowly avoided prison after falsely claiming £32,000 in housing benefits.
Cecil Godinho had claimed housing since 2006 for a home in Templeman Road, Ealing, where she initially rented privately and was later bought by the father of her children.
In June 2007 when the property was bought, she did not declare that she was no longer liable to pay rent to her previous landlord.
Godinho was given a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, when she appeared before Ealing Magistrates on November 3. She was ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid community work and has to pay £200 towards the council’s prosecution costs. She pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing and must also repay the money she fraudulently claimed.
Councillor Yvonne Johnson, leader for finance and performance at Ealing, said: “Benefits are there to support the most vulnerable in society so it is a disgrace that someone knowingly claims thousands of pounds they aren’t entitled to.
“Miss Godinho is lucky not to have been sent to prison over such a serious matter and she will now have to pay back what she wrongly claimed. She should be thoroughly ashamed of herself and I hope she will now stay out of trouble.”
Anyone with any information about a benefit cheat can report their suspicions anonymously via the council’s 24-hour fraud hotline on 0800 328 6453 (free from landlines) or email firstname.lastname@example.org