Law graduate guilty of benefit fraud

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A RUGBY man has been fined £110 plus £125 court costs for failing to declare temporary work and attending university whilst claiming housing benefit.

Francis Mlambo, 35, of Avenue Road, Rugby, pleaded not guilty at his first court hearing in September 2012 and opted to go to trial.

At his trial Mlambo, who has a law degree, represented himself arguing that he did not understand what he was signing when applying for benefit and that he did not knowingly defraud Rugby Borough Council (RBC).

RBC confirmed that Mlambo was not being prosecuted for knowingly defrauding the authority but was charged with failing to declare changes in his circumstances.

Mlambo said if he was convicted of benefit fraud, this would jeopardise his future employment if he wanted to practice law.

The judge found him guilty and the £4,445.31 he received in benefit that he was not entitled to is being recovered by the authority.

Cllr David Cranham, portfolio holder for resources at RBC, said: “This case shows that Rugby Borough Council is relentless in its fight against benefit fraud. It is made very clear to customers from the time they first make a benefit claim that they have a duty to report any subsequent changes in their circumstances which may affect their claim. Mr Mlambo failed to do this.

“We are here to protect the public purse and had to do so through the courts on this occasion.”