A Luton Councillor has been prosecuted for fraud by the local council and sentenced to 8 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, with 200 hours of unpaid labour.
The punishment was handed down to Labour Councillor Hannah Adrees on the 10th of June at the Crown Court in Luton, following a Shared Anti-Fraud Service investigation and a case filed by Luton Council.
The inquiry followed an accusation of fraud involving her administration of an adult social care payment as a family member during a two-year period from 2018 to 2020.
The court heard how Ms. Adrees exploited her position of trust when she administered direct care payments on behalf of an elderly relative.
She used the funds to acquire products for herself and to pay herself almost £2,000 in unauthorised earnings.
In imposing the punishment, the court said that although her activities were not complex, they occurred over an extended period of time. She manipulated the welfare system to commit fraud against the same authority she was elected to serve.
In moderation, her early guilty plea and good character were credited.
Due to the length of her sentence, Ms. Adrees is now barred from taking office as a councillor, triggering a by-election.
A council spokesperson said: “The council is committed to investigating and prosecuting any allegations of fraud irrespective of the identity of the alleged offender.
“No individual can ever be above the law and we will continue working together with the Shared Anti-Fraud Service in order to protect the public purse and take action against anyone found to be committing criminal offences at the authority’s expense.”