Suspended sentence for £50k Buckhurst Hill benefit fraudster

Karen Bastik was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court last month

Karen Bastik was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court last month

First published in News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter - Epping Forest

A woman has been handed a suspended sentence after fraudulently claiming £53,000 of housing benefit.

Karen Bastik, 52, of Greenhill in Buckhurst Hill was handed four concurrent nine-month jail terms, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £950 costs.

Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) brought the prosecution after discovering the fraudster had received money she was not entitled to on four occasions between September 2004 and October 2009.

Syd Stavrou, EFDC portfolio holder for finance, said: “Housing benefit is means tested and is meant to help people on a low income to pay their bills.

“I am pleased with the outcome of this case and it sends a message that deliberately deceiving the council to obtain benefits is taken extremely seriously and we will seek to prosecute anyone who is found to have done this.”

When she began claiming housing benefit in September 2004 and then again in January 2005, she used her married name of Walford and claimed she was not related to her landlord.

It was later discovered he was her brother.

In October 2011, when claiming benefits again, Ms Bastick used her maiden name but gave a false name for her brother so the relationship would not be detected.

She also failed to notify the council after acquiring £50,000 in October 2009 which should have been reported as a change in circumstances.

After carrying out an investigation, the council called the tenant in for an interview under caution in August 2013, when she admitted the offences.

Ms Bastik is now the subject of a supervision order and has been ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work.

EFDC is currently in the process of recovering the £53,712.61 overpaid to Ms Bastik.

Ms Bastick pleaded guilty to the offences at Colchester Magistrates Court on June 24 and was referred to the Chelmsford Crown Court for sentencing on July 16.

Comments (9)

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4:55pm Tue 5 Aug 14

Stephen Murray says...

Very lucky to escape a prison sentence.

I fully expect our officers to get every penny back. This is public money and should only go to those that deserve it . To deliberately lie and withhold information makes this a clear case of theft against one's community.

It is not a victimless crime as this very large amount of public money could be spent on supporting crucial community services.

Independent Epping Forest District Councillor - Stephen Murray
Very lucky to escape a prison sentence. I fully expect our officers to get every penny back. This is public money and should only go to those that deserve it . To deliberately lie and withhold information makes this a clear case of theft against one's community. It is not a victimless crime as this very large amount of public money could be spent on supporting crucial community services. Independent Epping Forest District Councillor - Stephen Murray Stephen Murray
  • Score: 7

7:55pm Tue 5 Aug 14

Villagecranberry says...

So the brother must have been in on this joint venture conspiracy to defraud the taxpayer. Why are they not both locked up? These claimants fraudulently do this type of crime because they get away with it and this is the tip of the iceberg.
So the brother must have been in on this joint venture conspiracy to defraud the taxpayer. Why are they not both locked up? These claimants fraudulently do this type of crime because they get away with it and this is the tip of the iceberg. Villagecranberry
  • Score: -4

8:01pm Tue 5 Aug 14

Brisbane says...

So, as things stand, she's £52k up but has to do 250 hours of work in return, a rate of pay of nigh on £200 an hour. And they say crime doesn't pay...
So, as things stand, she's £52k up but has to do 250 hours of work in return, a rate of pay of nigh on £200 an hour. And they say crime doesn't pay... Brisbane
  • Score: 4

8:45pm Tue 5 Aug 14

Villagecranberry says...

Brisbane wrote:
So, as things stand, she's £52k up but has to do 250 hours of work in return, a rate of pay of nigh on £200 an hour. And they say crime doesn't pay...
Surgeons pay rate!
[quote][p][bold]Brisbane[/bold] wrote: So, as things stand, she's £52k up but has to do 250 hours of work in return, a rate of pay of nigh on £200 an hour. And they say crime doesn't pay...[/p][/quote]Surgeons pay rate! Villagecranberry
  • Score: -6

8:35am Wed 6 Aug 14

stickmanny says...

Bankers cost the public billions. What was the sentence again?
Bankers cost the public billions. What was the sentence again? stickmanny
  • Score: -1

8:52am Wed 6 Aug 14

DaveInTheForest says...

Stephen Murray wrote:
Very lucky to escape a prison sentence.

I fully expect our officers to get every penny back. This is public money and should only go to those that deserve it . To deliberately lie and withhold information makes this a clear case of theft against one's community.

It is not a victimless crime as this very large amount of public money could be spent on supporting crucial community services.

Independent Epping Forest District Councillor - Stephen Murray
Yes, wasting taxpayers money is heinous. For example, there may be a nightclub in Epping which drains the local resources in terms of having to deal with fights, vomit on the streets and smashed shop windows. However, I guess if said nightclub enjoys patronage from certain people, then it gets protected and keeps its licence and continues to waste taxpayers cash.
[quote][p][bold]Stephen Murray[/bold] wrote: Very lucky to escape a prison sentence. I fully expect our officers to get every penny back. This is public money and should only go to those that deserve it . To deliberately lie and withhold information makes this a clear case of theft against one's community. It is not a victimless crime as this very large amount of public money could be spent on supporting crucial community services. Independent Epping Forest District Councillor - Stephen Murray[/p][/quote]Yes, wasting taxpayers money is heinous. For example, there may be a nightclub in Epping which drains the local resources in terms of having to deal with fights, vomit on the streets and smashed shop windows. However, I guess if said nightclub enjoys patronage from certain people, then it gets protected and keeps its licence and continues to waste taxpayers cash. DaveInTheForest
  • Score: 1

8:53am Wed 6 Aug 14

DaveInTheForest says...

stickmanny wrote:
Bankers cost the public billions. What was the sentence again?
Yo - stick man - you're back. Been in Tuscany with your champagne socialist mates like Polly Toynbee?
[quote][p][bold]stickmanny[/bold] wrote: Bankers cost the public billions. What was the sentence again?[/p][/quote]Yo - stick man - you're back. Been in Tuscany with your champagne socialist mates like Polly Toynbee? DaveInTheForest
  • Score: -8

10:15pm Sun 10 Aug 14

Podcast1 says...

To read this story disgusts me, perhaps you would like to know the background of this and perhaps you should research your story better before printing it. This person was being abused by her ex husband and left him to save herself and her children. She did not use false names, these were her names at the time, she was married and used her married name as was the case at the time, she then used her maiden name when she was divorced as you would do when you want to rid yourself of a brutal ex-husband. She had no idea she was doing anything wrong and was only interested in protecting herself and her children. the council pursued her like some kind of criminal and wouldn't listen to the truth, maybe they should spend more time pursuing real criminals. This lady has done nothing wrong but has paid the price for making a mistake to protect her children and herself. For those who criticise, shame on you, there are 2 sides to every story and this so called 'reporter' must be desperate for a story.....
To read this story disgusts me, perhaps you would like to know the background of this and perhaps you should research your story better before printing it. This person was being abused by her ex husband and left him to save herself and her children. She did not use false names, these were her names at the time, she was married and used her married name as was the case at the time, she then used her maiden name when she was divorced as you would do when you want to rid yourself of a brutal ex-husband. She had no idea she was doing anything wrong and was only interested in protecting herself and her children. the council pursued her like some kind of criminal and wouldn't listen to the truth, maybe they should spend more time pursuing real criminals. This lady has done nothing wrong but has paid the price for making a mistake to protect her children and herself. For those who criticise, shame on you, there are 2 sides to every story and this so called 'reporter' must be desperate for a story..... Podcast1
  • Score: 0

10:18pm Sun 10 Aug 14

Podcast1 says...

David eggboro maybe you should contact this lady and write her side of the story, it would make better reading then your sad council biased report........
David eggboro maybe you should contact this lady and write her side of the story, it would make better reading then your sad council biased report........ Podcast1
  • Score: 0

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