London (ANI): Brit soul/pop singer and X Factor winner Alexandra Burke's mother is under investigation for making false benefits claims. Melissa Bell, 44, came under the notice of bosses at Islington council in North London after it was revealed that she and Burke were discussing singing publicly together.
"They're idiots, I'll sue them!" the Mirror quoted her as saying. "I simply couldn't believe it. But I rang the council and they have admitted I am under suspicion of benefit fraud. I'm absolutely outraged," she said.
According to the probe being carried out, the mum-of-four, who is a former soul singer, has been claiming benefits worth 17,344 pounds a year, and at the same time getting paid for gigs. Investigators have contacted ever venue that Bell has been performing at within the last six months, but she has insisted that whatever she was paid has been going to charity.
"The council can come and search me right now. Officials have looked online at all the places I have appeared at and have contacted them all," she said. "But any money I've received I've given to the Kidney Patient Association. I am very mindful of the rules. On Christmas Day I stepped in for Alex at a restaurant because but I didn't get paid I got a Christmas dinner. I also sang at my hospital for the patients, but I didn't get paid for that, either. I'm really upset about all this and very alarmed," she added.
Bell, who has severe diabetes, gets a monthly 258 pounds disability living allowance and 124 pounds per week in income support. Her weekly 150 pounds rent and council tax fees are covered by housing benefit.