A former Croydon Council employee has been given a suspended prison sentence for defrauding the same benefits scheme she advised on as part of her job.
Khush Thapar, 45, claimed £6,365 in direct care payments over a three-year period until 2012. The payments had been designed to cover her care needs.
An investigation was launched after Thapar failed to maintain an audit trail of her payments. The corporate anti-fraud team found that Thapar had used the benefits to pay for babysitters while she socialised.
Mr Justice Ainley said that Thapar had used her knowledge of the system to claim the fraudulent benefits. Thapar’s former job at the council had been to advise clients on the same scheme.
As part of her defence, Thapar maintained that she did not fully understand the direct payments scheme.
She pleaded guilty to a charge of dishonest false accounting.
On October 28, Thapar was given a custodial sentence of 18 weeks and a two-year suspension at Croydon Crown Court. She was also ordered to pay £1000 toward the cost of the prosecution.
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for Communities, Safety and Justice, said: “It’s always sad when somebody uses their inside knowledge of a particular system and abuses that system for personal gain.”
“It’s particularly sad when that person used to work for the council and manipulated a payment scheme that’s designed to help those who genuinely need that assistance.”