A Norbury woman who fraudulently claimed nearly £192,000 in benefits has been jailed for seven years after a Croydon Council-led prosecution.
Angel Jackson, aged 52, from Solent Court, London Road, Norbury, was sentenced on Friday after being found guilty earlier this month of 30 charges of dishonestly obtaining benefits, one charge of council tax evasion and one charge of unlawful eviction. The deception resulted in Ms Jackson receiving a total benefits overpayment of around £192,000 between November 1998 and January 2013.
Croydon Council’s corporate anti-fraud team launched the complex investigation in 2012 alongside Merton Council and the Department for Work and Pensions following a tip-off. During searches at Ms Jackson’s home, officers found £20,000 in cash, mainly £50 notes, in the bottom of a wardrobe, and got video evidence to show she had unlawfully evicted one of her tenants.
The investigation also found that Ms Jackson had deceived the authorities on numerous occasions by failing to notify them that she had:
• Left the address she was claiming benefits for
• Bought two homes, renting one to herself using a false name
• Made other claims using a bogus identity
• Used false documents including a tenancy agreement, driving licence and passport under the name Diva Paris Anderson.
Throughout the investigation, Ms Jackson maintained the frauds had been committed by a Max Okyere and that the £20,000 in cash belonged to him. In two separate interviews, Mr Okyere supported Jackson’s assertions, but withdrew his previous admissions in a third interview, stating that he had been acting on Jackson’s instructions.
Mr Okyere, aged 48, of Millpool Gardens in Kings Heath, Birmingham, was prosecuted alongside Ms Jackson, and pleaded guilty to two charges of perverting the course of justice. He was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment on 11 November.
Sentencing Ms Jackson at Croydon Crown Court, Judge Adam Hiddleston said: “You, Angel Jackson, are a thoroughly dishonest person. For over a decade you sought to cheat everyone who crosses your path, the local authorities, insurance, even your ex-husband.”
Croydon Council will now pursue confiscation proceedings to claim back the proceeds of Ms Jackson’s fraud.
“Angel Jackson’s fraud cheated taxpayers in Croydon and across the UK out of thousands of pounds, so I’m very glad to see the court has found in our favour. I’m especially proud of our dedicated Croydon Council officers who led this complex case, and I hope this sentence acts as a deterrent to anyone else considering this level of criminality.”
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice