A landlord has been sentenced to 17 months in prison suspended for 12 months after she admitted conspiring to defraud Bassetlaw District Council.
Susan Jubb, 53, of The Old Vicarage, Park Lane, Elkesley, admitted the offence.
Jubb also admitted defrauding Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and Contempt of court.
Jubb was sentenced to eight months for defrauding Bassetlaw District Council and seven months, to run concurrently, for defrauding HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). She was also sentenced to nine months for the contempt of court offence.
The sentences were all suspended for 12 months.
Jubb was sentenced after she used vulnerable adults, often people with serious drug and alcohol problems, to sign documents stating they reside in one of her properties when they do not. Jubb then completed the rest of the forms before applying for housing benefit on behalf of these “ghost” tenants and receiving payment direct from the council into her bank account.
The court heard Jubb avoided paying around £14,000 to HMRC and claimed nearly £6,000 fraudulently from Bassetlaw District Council.
Det Con Nick Lowe said: “Jubb is a well-known individual in Worksop who owns 22 properties in the Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire areas and is chairman of an organisation she founded called Bassetlaw Landlords Association.
“She used extremely vulnerable people for her own ends in a carefully planned effort to commit fraud and take money away from the public purse.
“We hope this conviction shows the people of Nottinghamshire that we will bring to justice anyone who attempts to defraud the public for their own benefit.
“Hearings under Proceeds of Crime Act will now take place to ensure that those sentenced do not benefit further from their criminality.”
Cllr Simon Greaves, Leader of Bassetlaw District Council, said: “This has been a lengthy investigation and we are pleased that the courts saw fit to impose a custodial sentence on Ms Jubb, albeit suspended.
“Bassetlaw District Council takes a zero tolerance approach to benefit fraud and will always seek to put offenders before the courts where they will receive the most appropriate sentence.
“As a direct result of this case, the Council has now adopted additional legislation that enables us to withhold direct payments to landlords for housing benefit should we believe they are not a fit and proper landlord.
“When it comes to direct payments to landlords, there is always an element of trust which must not be abused. However, the Council has the means to conduct regular checks and will punish those who abuse the system.”