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16 Jul 2018

Zimbabweans caught abusing the benefit system in UK

After my article on the Zimbabwean parents abusing their children for benefits (writes Masimba Mavasa), I was overwhelmed by calls and emails demanding that I write about adults who are abusing the benefit system in the UK. Many Zimbabweans are giving the country a bad name in the UK because of their love for money. Benefit fraud has been the most abused system in the UK and many Zimbabweans have joined the band wagon. Many have defended it without shame while have said they are taking our money which was stolen by the colonialists. Either way there is no and must be no justification of crime in any way. Eye for an eye makes the world blind. (h/t Dave)

A Zimbabwean by the name Shingirai Zvokunzwa made news when British fraud investigators followed a trail through social networking sites and immigration records to unmask the double life of a Zimbabwean benefits cheat. But justice caught up with Shingirai Zvokunzwa when a judge jailed him for 10 months for fiddling £28,000 from Reading Borough Council.

A court was told Zvokunzwa started claiming housing and council tax benefit in August 2006 when he told the council he was living alone and getting Job Seekers' Allowance. But three years later council investigators following up a tip-off discovered the house where he was living in east Reading was empty and neighbours said the occupant had moved to Canada.

But a full identity fraud investigation was launched jointly by the council and the Department of Work and Pensions after it was discovered Zvokunzwa had told his landlord his name was Tevin Mukonda.

The court heard it was then established that Zvokunzwa changed his name to Mukonda after arriving in Britain from his native Zimbabwe. In the name of Mukonda he had pocketed three years of government education grant on top of the state and housing benefits he had been claiming. He also got a student loan after enrolling at Reading University. But single students with no disabilities receiving full-time education are not eligible, in the majority of cases, for housing benefit.

Further information about Zvokunzwa was gathered from social networking sites, including Facebook, and it transpired that far from moving to Canada, he was living in Milton Keynes - where as Mukonda he had made another benefit claim.

Zvokunzwa admitted six offences of fraud when he appeared at Aylesbury Crown Court, and on top of the jail sentence he was ordered to repay the money he fiddled from Reading Borough Council. Hundreds of Zimbabweans have dipped their fingers into crime and have benefited at the expense of real sufferers.

Patrick Malati, a Zimbabwean living in Leeds, claimed over one hundred and fifty thousand pounds from the Disability allowance claiming that he was blind. Yes blind. He was arrested on a driving whilst drunk offence and it turned out he was a blind Zimbabwean on benefits.

The way the system works encourages people to claim benefits and avoid working for themselves.

There are many Zimbabweans in prison now for benefit frauds. Some are not yet arrested but the net is closing. Many Zimbabweans are working hard but their good efforts are being soiled by the few criminals littering the UK.

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13 Jul 2018

Benefit fraudster had health issues

A fraudster who posed as her own mother to make ill-gained claims trousered £4,599 of taxpayers’ money.

Jenna Fritter, 29, was hauled before Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on two counts of fraud by false representation after pleading guilty at a previous hearing.

Fritter, from South Ashford, was snared juggling care allowance packages between two bank accounts in 2016 and 2015, the court heard.

Prosecutor Neil Sweeney added the benefits cheat posed as her own mother, Alison Fritter, to dupe the government into handing over the cash.

“There appears to be transfers of carers’ allowances, it changes particularly between two accounts,” he said.

"Miss Fritter in an interview said that the claims were made by her mum. Her mum made a statement to the effect that she did not make a claim at all.”

Fritter hung her head in the dock as Mr Sweeney read evidence to district judge Justin Barron.

The fraud was committed in December 2015 and June 2016, while Fritter was on a suspended sentence for assault, the court heard.

But after Judge Barron read a report detailing Miss Fritter’s “significant mental health issues,” he said: “I am not going to send you to jail today. I have read your psychiatric report and the issues you have had and you have made progress. I don’t think it’s useful to consider Miss Fritter to a curfew.”

There were gasps of relief in the dock from Fritter’s friend and partner as the verdict was passed.

Judge Barron said Fritter, who is on benefits and deemed unfit for work, must serve 15 rehabilitation days to “help maintain progress” on a 12-month community order.

Defending solicitor Stuart Green added efforts should continue to be made on improving Fritter’s mental health.

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12 Jul 2018

Benefit fraudster had drug issues

A Clydebank woman who claimed benefit money she was not entitled to has narrowly avoided a jail sentence.

Kirsten Falconer, 32, pleaded guilty at Dumbarton Sheriff Court to pretending to officers of the Department of Work and Pensions that she was Catherine Young, and gave a false national insurance number.

Prosecutor Martina McGuigan also told the court that Falconer told the DWP she was single, unemployed and pregnant.

She claimed income based Jobseekers allowance to which she wasn’t entitled and induced the DWP to grant her application and she obtained £1,294 of cash by fraud.

Ms McGuigan explained: “In August 2017 Miss Young was contacted by DWP about her Jobseekers Allowance and this is when it came to light. Investigations took place at the Job Centre in Clydebank and CCTV was viewed, payments were traced to Falconer and she was invited for interview. She told officers she had found a wallet on a night out and all it contained was a P45.”

Lawyer Scott Adair said: “She is repaying the money at £7 per week, which is being deducted from her properly claimed benefits. The wallet she found had no money or cards, just P45. It was a plan that was bound to fail. She has had a lot of drugs issues. This happened at a particularly low time in her life. She realises it was not an insignificant amount of money.”

Sheriff William Gallacher told Falconer: “This was a brazen and pretty mean thing to do. It was planned, calculated and a determined course of conduct and an abuse of the system. I am very seriously tempted to send you into custody.”

Falconer was given a 12 months community payback order to include supervision and also ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.

Source

10 Jul 2018

Benefit fraudster exaggerated health problems

A benefit cheat who claimed he couldn't go 'walkies' was running a dog training business, a court heard.

Fraudster Paul Johnson, 53, declared to benefit bosses that he 'couldn't walk more than 20 yards' but was working as an HGV driver and operating Mere Brow Gun Dogs.

The businessman, of Preston, Lancashire, had claimed he used a walking stick and that he had to be accompanied when outside in case he fell, and exaggerated his conditions during a home visit by a health worker.

His lies led to him being paid more than £20,000 in benefits that he was not entitled, Preston Crown Court heard.

Johnson claimed he paid £1,000 for someone to help fill out his claim form to the DWP for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

He claimed the cash over a period of two years and 10 months, including a £5,500 lump sum as a backdated payment.

The court previously heard that Johnson had stated as part of his claim for disability benefits that he needed assistance when going to the toilet, and that he couldn't manage stairs.

Recorder David Temkin said he accepted he was remorseful but added: 'These benefits are designed to help people with long term health issues and disabilities so they can cope. Whilst, undoubtedly, you did suffer a number of ailments, nevertheless you made dishonest representations relating to your lungs, knees and general mobility.

'Even if you didn't complete it the words were yours and the lies were yours.

'If it's true you and another person conspired in this way it has the potential to aggravate your position. The fact you say you paid £1,000 demonstrates you knew you were in for some significant financial reward, though I accept this was not actually proven. Your Facebook profile was monitored and revealed the extent of your lies. Your physical capabilities were far better than you had stated.

'The fact is investigators watched you as you walked unaided distances of 800 yards. One investigator never saw you using a stick or having a carer with you.'

The court heard in one statement Johnson said: 'I struggle to stand for any period of time due to the pain in my left knee. I struggle to get in and out of showers. I fall a lot.'

He was given 10 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, a curfew, and must do 200 hours unpaid work.

Source with picture

7 Jul 2018

Jeremy Kyle Show viewers report benefits scrounger for fraud after she admits it live on TV

Jeremy Kyle's viewers sprung into action during today's show - after a guest confessed to claiming benefits while working cash in hand.

Kelsey was on the show because her mum, Tracy, had accused her of stealing £40 from her holiday fund.

She took a lie detector test and failed it - proving she had stolen the cash.

But it was a slight slip of the tongue when Jeremy asked her if she prostitutes herself to to pay for drugs that got people talking.

Kelsey denied being a prostitute, saying she works and is paid cash - but she also claims benefits.

She said: "I work cash in hand, but I'm on benefits as well, yeah?"

Jeremy said: "I pay for your drugs and you work cash in hand? You think I'm an idiot? You just said that on national TV!"

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5 Jul 2018

Blatant benefits fraudster jailed

Christine Angell, the blatant benefits fraudster who we highlighted last month has been sent to prison. Quite right too.

She has burned her way through bequests and other assets totalling some £190,000 - and is now back on benefits.

Responsibility? Pah.

Source

2 Jul 2018

Light benefit fraud penalty after long delay

A Rossett woman has escaped a jail term after being found guilty of two charges of benefit fraud at Wrexham Magistrates.

Laura Sharpe, 31, had initially entered a not guilty plea for failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) of a change in her circumstances, in relation to income support and housing benefit payments, but was convicted at trial.

Rhian Jackson, prosecuting, said that Sharpe, a mother of two children had fraudulently claimed benefits of more than £10k between December 2014 and March 2016 despite clearly maintaining a common household with her partner, Gareth Dodd.

Ms Jackson said that surveillance of the property was conducted by DWP during February/March 2016 and Mr Dodd was identified by them on 38 separate occasions, both leaving and arriving at the property in either his work van or his silver BMW, which was registered with the DVLA under his name.

Ms Jackson explained there had been lots of evidence against Sharpe, who had been asked on numerous occasions by DWP to update them if her circumstances had changed.

Melissa Griffiths, defending, said that the charges had been hanging over Sharpe for some time, and despite her not guilty plea at trial, now accepted the verdict of the court that she had failed to disclose information to DWP.

On handing Sharpe a 12 month community order, Deputy District Judge Meirion Lewis-Jones said the evidence against Sharpe was overwhelming and as a result had come close to being subjected to prison, with her previous good record going in her favour.

He said: "Benefit fraud is becoming all too prevalent these days, which is depressing."

Part of the community order includes a 15 day rehabilitation requirement with Sharpe also ordered to pay a total of £485.

Source

29 Jun 2018

Man admits repeat benefit fraud

A Frome man who made a claim for benefits and kept pocketing the payment for two and a half years while he was earning money from his own courier business has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Stephen Joseph Ellis committed £15,000 worth of fraud when he didn’t tell the authorities what he was up to.

And it wasn’t until investigators from the Specialist Fraud Division became involved that they tracked his activities via his bank account.

At first he claimed the business belonged to his father, but when he appeared before Somerset Magistrates he confessed that the profits from the business were being paid into his bank account.

Ellis, 62, initially denied the offence but then changed his plea to guilty that on January 11, 2013 at Frome with a view to obtaining a benefit, namely Employment Support Allowance, he dishonestly made a statement or representation to the Department for Work and Pensions which was false, namely he stated he was not working or self-employed.

Emma Lenanton, prosecuting, said that the case arose following the defendant’s claim for Employment Support Allowance where he received an overpayment of £15,219.43 between October 2012 and March 2015.

“The claim was made and there was an application for it to be backdated,” she said. “However in making that claim Ellis failed to declare that he was receiving money from a family run business “NetExpress”. He accepts the claim was fraudulent at the outset and in instances like this a repayment schedule is usually devised.”

Miss Lenanton said the defendant had previous convictions for two offences of failing to notify a change of circumstances affecting benefit payments for which he was given a six week suspended prison sentence.

Defending solicitor Jeffrey Bannister said that Ellis accepted he did fill in the benefit application forms to say he was not working.

“He was ill and his parents wanted to help him so set up this business for him, however when he became ill his mother was doing most of the work on his behalf,” he said. “However it was his business and occasionally he got a bit better and tried to do some work. Eventually they were keeping the business afloat in the hope that in the future Ellis would get better and get back to work, however he was not doing this.”

He said that the business was still in operation and money had been put into his account, however he was not earning any money from it.

Since Ellis was interviewed by police all his benefits had been stopped, but he had been granted Disability Living Allowance for life because of his condition.

“The business had not been successful ever and it has now collapsed,” he added.

A Probation spokesperson said that Ellis took full responsibility for the offence saying that there was quite a substantial amount of money involved.

The magistrates imposed a 12 week suspended prison sentence, suspended for 12 months and also ordered him to pay £85 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

Source

25 Jun 2018

Benefit fraud case takes years to reach court

A Rossett woman has escaped a jail term after being found guilty of two charges of benefit fraud at Wrexham Magistrates.

Laura Sharpe, 31, had initially entered a not guilty plea for failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) of a change in her circumstances, in relation to income support and housing benefit payments, but was convicted at trial.

Rhian Jackson, prosecuting, said that Sharpe, a mother of two children had fraudulently claimed benefits of more than £10k between December 2014 and March 2016 despite clearly maintaining a common household with her partner, Gareth Dodd.

Ms Jackson said that surveillance of the property was conducted by DWP during February/March 2016 and Mr Dodd was identified by them on 38 separate occasions, both leaving and arriving at the property in either his work van or his silver BMW, which was registered with the DVLA under his name.

Ms Jackson explained there had been lots of evidence against Sharpe, who had been asked on numerous occasions by DWP to update them if her circumstances had changed.

Melissa Griffiths, defending, said that the charges had been hanging over Sharpe for some time, and despite her not guilty plea at trial, now accepted the verdict of the court that she had failed to disclose information to DWP.

On handing Sharpe a 12 month community order, Deputy District Judge Meirion Lewis-Jones said the evidence against Sharpe was overwhelming and as a result had come close to being subjected to prison, with her previous good record going in her favour.

He said: "Benefit fraud is becoming all too prevalent these days, which is depressing."

Part of the community order includes a 15 day rehabilitation requirement with Sharpe also ordered to pay a total of £485.

Source

19 Jun 2018

Benefit cheat posted holiday snaps on facebook!

A benefits cheat who had nearly £400,000 in the bank was caught after officials found Facebook pictures of her enjoying lavish foreign holidays.

Teresa Hardy posted snaps of her breaks in Belgium, Lanzarote, Cyprus, Tunisia, France and Spain while she was claiming council tax relief.

Investigators from North West Leicestershire District Council prosecuted the 48-year-old after becoming suspicious about her claims.

Hardy started claiming Council Tax support from the authority in April 2013, saying she had no income other than the employment and support allowance she received. She gained £3,931.23 in council tax reduction benefit, and went on to claim additional discretionary ‘hardship’ payments of £557 and £218 in 2014 and 2015 respectively, due to her income allegedly being so much lower than her outgoings.

Council officers became suspicious in August 2017, and launched an investigation into Hardy’s claims, which have now led to payments over a four year period. They discovered three bank accounts showing a total balance of £374,833, and took to social media to find further evidence.

There officers found evidence on Facebook of the defendant enjoying holidays during the period she was claiming. The search also revealed Hardy to be the owner of a business called Doodle Mania, and a website advertising her as an artist. Hardy, from Ibstock, appeared at Leicester Magistrates’ Court, where she admitted dishonestly claiming council tax reduction and fraudulently receiving further discretionary payments.

‘Exceptional circumstances’ regarding Hardy’s health saw magistrates give her a three-year conditional discharge. A collection order was made which will see Hardy pay the council’s costs of £1,812. The council tax benefit and hardship payments, totalling £4,688.23, are also to be paid back.

After the hearing, the district council’s corporate portfolio holder Nick Rushton said: ‘I hope this sends a message to anyone considering making a fraudulent claim that they won’t get away with it and will be taken to court. This case is particularly galling in that the defendant was spending the money of hardworking taxpayers on extravagant holidays abroad. Thanks to the excellent work of our legal and revenue and benefits teams, this money will now be reclaimed and reinvested into the council services we offer.’

Source with pictures