Derbyshire Dales council recover £9,878 from serial benefit fraudster

Emma Bent, formerly of Heage, has been ordered to pay back more than �75,000
Emma Bent, formerly of Heage, has been ordered to pay back more than �75,000

Derbyshire Dales District Council has successfully recovered a housing benefit overpayment of £9,878 from a notorious serial fraudster who used to live in Steep Turnpike.

Emma Bent was jailed in February 2016 for two and a half years, and ordered to pay £75,806.41 for benefit fraud against Derbyshire Dales and Amber Valley councils and the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Derbyshire Dales Benefits Service subsequently applied to the courts under the Proceeds of Crime Act to have her assets seized and sold in order to recover the overpayment - and the money has now been paid to the council.

A spokesperson for the council said: “This is excellent news for the local taxpayer and once again demonstrates the outstanding partnership arrangements that exist between the council and the Department for Work & Pensions, the Crown Prosecution Services and the courts.

“We claimed a 40 per cent subsidy on the recovery of the overpayments, so in effect we have received £13,829 as a successful recovery outcome.”

The benefit fraud was discovered years after Bent was jailed in 2011 when her pet cremation business was found to be dumping animals’ bodies rather than delivering the services customers had paid for.

At the time, she had concealed her earnings and assets but police were eventually able to untangle her web of deceit.

Ms Bent, last reported to be living in Anglesey, was jailed again in July this year after being caught stealing cash from the tills while working at Greggs in Matlock.