A Beckenham woman who claimed almost £12,000 in benefits by not declaring her partner's employment has been prosecuted by Bromley Council.

Pearl Wood, 36, of Derrick Road, Beckenham, was the first person prosecuted by the council following the introduction of data matching ‘Real Time Information’ (RTI) from HMRC.

RTI matches up-to-date payroll details submitted by employers to the HMRC against benefit data.

On July 23 2013, a Change in Circumstances Form was received by Bromley Council’s Benefits Section which declared that Miss Wood’s partner’s employment had ceased on July 1 2013 and that he was currently unemployed.


Housing benefit was re-calculated and awarded at a higher rate.

Following a ‘Real Time Information’ data match from HMRC it was found that her partner’s employment had re-commenced in July 2013 but this had not be declared to the council’s Benefits Section.

Housing benefits of £11,917 had been overpaid July 2013 to December last year.

Miss Wood was interviewed in February 2015 when she admitted she had been wrong in not notifying her partner’s employment.

Miss Wood pleaded guilty to one charge of dishonestly failing to declare a change in circumstances and was sentenced at Bromley Magistrates Court on the April 21.

Miss Wood was handed a community order consisting of an 18 week curfew between 9pm and 5.30am ordered to pay £575.00 costs and a £60.00 victim surcharge.

As well as receiving a criminal record, the overpayment is being recovered by Bromley Council.

A Council spokesman said: “This successful prosecution was achieved using the latest data matching technique from HMRC and this is welcomed as it will identify other fraudsters who may have previously escaped detection.

"It is important these cheats are caught and prosecuted thus ensuring that public funds are safeguarded and only used for those in genuine need.”

Anyone with information about a suspected benefit fraud should contact (in strict confidence) the Fraud Hotline on 0800 169 6975 or email audit@bromley.gov.uk