A woman has admitted to defrauding two councils, using money for a rental deposit scheme to go on a shopping spree and holiday.

Charlotte Gunn has has pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud in a case that involved ‘’sophistication and planning’’ against Harlow and Broxbourne councils.

In September 2018 Gunn, of Croyland Road, Enfield, made an application to Broxbourne Council for financial assistance for a rental deposit through the Simple Lets scheme.

The council made a loan payment to a landlord enabling Gunn to move out of temporary housing accommodation and into a privately rented home.

Suspicions were raised after the deposit had been paid and the matter was referred to the Shared Anti-Fraud Service (SAFS) to conduct a fraud investigation.

SAFS found that Gunn had used a property advertised for rent locally and fabricated a landlord with false contact details in order to obtain the £1,600 deposit – which was paid into her own bank account.

She then used the money to purchase a holiday, go on a high street spending spree and withdrew a large amount in cash.

The investigation also brought to light that Gunn had committed an almost identical fraud against Harlow Council.

Ms Gunn was sentenced and ordered to pay a fine of £450 (£250 for the fraud committed against Broxbourne Borough Council and £200 for the fraud committed against Harlow Council), plus £500 in costs.

She is also subject to a compensation order to fully repay Harlow and Broxbourne councils.

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