26 Nov 2015

Light sentence for benefit fraud

A Redditch man who dishonestly claimed more than £4,000 in benefits has been fined by magistrates.

Dale Chapman, aged 40, was sentenced by Redditch Magistrates Court.

He pleaded guilty to dishonestly claiming housing benefit amounting to £4,345.28 for three separate periods between October 2013 and November 2014 by failing to declare that he was working as a service engineer.

The court heard that the offences are serious and that the overpaid benefit is being recovered by the council through their own methods.

Mr Chapman was given a fine of £55 which the magistrates said would have been greater had he not entered an early guilty plea. (!)

He was also ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge and £100 court costs.

The investigation began as a result of a data match that matches electronic data within local authorities and HMRC to prevent and detect fraud.


25 Nov 2015

Mother jailed for £40k housing benefit fraud

A Kingsbury mother who fraudulently claimed £40,000 in housing benefit by concealing that her landlord was the father of her children has been jailed.

Anwar Mihsen, from Kingsbury, hid the information about Mohamed Jawad from Brent Council while claiming rental payments for two different properties between 2006 – 2010.

She also kept quiet about a joint bank account she held with Mr Jawad despite declaring two that were solely in her name.

Harrow Crown Court heard she provided the council with tenancy agreements and benefit forms which gave the name of her landlord as ‘Modeef Limited’.

However Modeef Limited was a dormant company that had never traded and that was unknown at the registered address given for it. Nor did the company own either of the properties and had no assets to its name.

Mishen was convicted by jury of benefit fraud and jailed for 18 months. She must also pay back the money.

Cllr Roxanne Mashari, Brent Council’s cabinet member responsible for welfare, said: “In a time of budget cuts, when we are all desperately trying to make our money go further, it is disgraceful that someone would deliberately scam us out of over £40,000.”


24 Nov 2015

Aircraft drug smuggler & benefit-cheat wife ordered to pay back over £56k

A husband and wife convicted of drug dealing and benefit fraud have been ordered to pay back more than £56,000.

Michael Daly, 47, and Julie Daly, 45, from Wythenshawe, were sentenced in June at Minshull Street Crown Court .

The court heard Daly was employed by a private company as a carpet fitter and deep cleaned aeroplanes at Manchester Airport. But he abused his position by smuggling drugs, hidden in the planes, into the country. It's believed Daly removed hidden drugs from the aircraft.

His wife denied any involvement with the drugs, but she was found to be fraudulently receiving state benefits from the Department of Work and Pensions.

Daly pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply drugs and money laundering. He was sentenced to four years and four months in prison, while his wife was given a suspended sentence after she admitted benefit fraud.

Following a further court hearing on Friday, the couple were ordered to pay back cash under the Proceeds of Crime Act or face an extended jail sentence.

Michael Daly was ordered to pay back £23,500 within three months or face a further 12 months in prison.

Julie Daly was ordered to pay back £33,571.45 within a deadline of three months or face 12 months in prison.

Financial investigator Keith Graham, of Greater Manchester Police’s Serious Crime Division, said: “What this case shows is that Greater Manchester Police do not stop when a criminal case concludes at court. I hope this sends a message we will track down the assets of criminals in whatever form they exist and use the powers under POCA to take these assets back.”


23 Nov 2015

Homeless man with cancer spared immediate jail

A Turkish man convicted of cheating the State out of more than £81,000 in benefits has walked free from Gloucester Crown Court after blaming his ex-wife for his predicament. (h/t Dave)

Resul Cerikan, 60, formerly of Penrith Road, Cheltenham, but now living in his car after being evicted from his rented home, had denied nine offences of making false statements to obtain benefits.

His case was that his British wife had 'duped' him and 'played him for a fool' by getting him to sign paperwork he had not realised he was signing and then having him 'kicked out of the matrimonial home' near Tetbury.

But at the end of a four-day trial the jury convicted him unanimously of seven of the charges and by a majority verdict on the other two charges.

His offences stemmed from him failing to declare his part ownership of a property in Sunground, Avening, near Tetbury, the court was told.

Recorder Malcolm Gibney sentenced Cerikan, who has prostate cancer, to 21 months jail suspended for two years with supervision for six months.

Cerikan's solicitor, Lloyd Jenkins, said Cerikan still protested his innocence and was 'somewhat troubled' by the jury's verdicts. "Whether or not those verdicts are grounds for appeal are a matter for another day and another court," he said. "But here and now he has to be content with the verdicts of the jury."

Mr Jenkins said Cerikan had come to the UK in 1985 and had worked hard, not relying on the State in any way, until 'things went wrong for him' when he had an accident which left him unable to work. "He is now sleeping in a car having been evicted from his home on September 14 by the local authority," said Mr Jenkins. "He was kicked out of his matrimonial home because she knew his rights but he didn't. She took advantage and played him for a fool."

Recorder Gibney told Cerikan "The jury has heard a lot of evidence about the way in which you came to claim benefits between 2002 and 2010. "They have convicted you of dishonestly making false statements on the relevant claim forms. As a result you secured benefits of over £80,000. The case is unusual. You are a 60-year-old man of hitherto good character. You came to this country in 1985 and worked diligently and assiduously in a variety of jobs, earning a good living. You had the misfortune to have an accident at work. You were then absent from work and you and your wife were in financial difficulties. That prompted an application for benefit. Unfortunately thereafter there followed a road traffic accident when you were hit by an uninsured driver. That has given rise to a significant injury and it made your position even more difficult when it came to secure employment.

"You and your then wife separated and divorced. You remained in the property which, it seems, she has lived in all her life. You were ignorant of the fact that you didn't have to leave and you were persuaded to leave. Over time, you were persuaded and cajoled by your ex wife to prevail on members of your family to help out to the point that over the years you and your ex wife were loaned something in excess of £100,000. The bulk of the money has been spent on the property which is of non standard construction and is not realistically mortgageable. Your wife, to a large extent, has spent the money on doing the place up and creating a comfortable environment to live in. Over time, on her own admission, she has on occasions tricked you into signing legal documentation in relation to the transfer of land adjacent to the property and in relation to loan documentation.

"To that extent you have been the author of her guile and have simply added to your own misfortune. But the jury has found that in other matters you knew what you were doing when you signed the forms. You are an intelligent and well educated man and you have a very good command of the English language.

"A benefits sum of this nature would normally mean an immediate prison sentence. But I am told and I accept that you are suffering from prostate cancer and as a result of these proceedings you have been evicted from your local authority home and are currently living in a vehicle. I have to respect the verdicts of the jury but as a result of the mitigation I have heard I think it is right, exceptionally, to suspend sentence.

"The local authority have their rights to pursue both you and, I venture to suggest, your ex-wife to recover the money that has been unlawfully spent keeping you and her in the property in which she still currently resides. "


19 Nov 2015

Different sentences for benefit frauds

Frankie Luders, 60, from Halifax, has been jailed for 27 weeks, which at more than six months, is three weeks for each of the nine offences. (h/t Dave)

He was previously convicted in 2013 of ten counts of benefit fraud and was still subject to the terms of the community order placed on him at that time when he committed his latest crimes, which included making multiple false statements, failing to declare changes of circumstances and giving a false document.

Luders dishonestly obtained more than £1600 of housing benefit by making claims at two addresses in Filey, which he did not live in, one after the other, and by counterfeiting a property owner’s signature. He also made claims for jobseeker’s allowance and employment and support allowance to DWP while working. The total value of benefits Luders took from the public purse was in excess of £6,000.


Meanwhile, Greta Ure, from Rickmansworth, pleaded guilty to three charges of benefit fraud after claiming £92,427. She was sentenced to eight months custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months concurrent on each offence, and ordered to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work. (also h/t Dave)


17 Nov 2015

£37k benefit fraud mother gets off

A court's decision to let a £37,000 benefit fraudster walk free has come under fire.

Kayleigh Cooper wept in Portsmouth Crown Court as details of her lies were read out to the judge.

The 25-year-old pleaded guilty to four charges of benefit fraud between 2011 and 2014.

The mum-of-one claimed £16,265 in employment support allowance, £18,926 in housing benefit, and more than £2,000 in council tax benefits – despite having a partner who was working and took a salary that could support her and her child.

But rather than being jailed, she was given an eight-month suspended jail sentence for each of the four fraud charges. The judge spared Cooper an immediate jail term as her child would have to be put into care.

But questions have been raised why Cooper wasn’t given a tougher punishment.

Councillor Donna Jones, Tory leader of Portsmouth City Council, which led the prosecution, said:
It seems a lenient sentence for the crime. Unless you are in the court room, it’s difficult to comment on. But I hope anyone who is convicted of this crime and committed this crime over this length of time in the future would definitely face a jail sentence.
Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said:
The sentence will, no doubt, reflect the facts of the crime, but questions must be asked about how and why so much money was handed out over such a long period of time. Taxpayers will rightly demand that the authorities implement better checks to make sure their cash isn’t being given to those who are not entitled it.
Laura Jenking-Rees, prosecuting, said: ‘Kayleigh Cooper claimed benefits from 2008 on the basis that she was a single parent. The initial claim was made for employment support benefit. Information came to the office that Ms Cooper was not entitled to these benefits. A full investigation was conducted and showed a number of links between (her boyfriend) and the households of Ms Cooper.’

Condemning Cooper’s actions, Cllr Jones added: ‘This person has committed not only a crime, but a moral crime as she is depriving people who need support.’

The court heard Cooper had several addresses in Portsmouth – including Castle Road and Cuthbert Road – and each time made new claims to the council. She had falsified documents, including tenancies, to make it appear she was living alone.

Simon Moger, defending, said: ‘The defendant takes full responsibility for what she did. She does not seek to blame anybody else.’ He said she was of previous good character and had not been in trouble before with the law. He said she suffers from bipolar disorder and had had post-natal depression.

Repayments of the defrauded money had already started, he said, with more than £1,000 already paid. The repayments were recently increased to £18.50 a week. If this stays the case, it will take her about 39 years to pay back the cash.

Recorder Don Tait said: ‘You set about deliberately claiming benefits you knew you were not entitled to. It went on for a significant period of time. You have heaped problems on yourself because you are now having to repay it.’

Cooper, of Peronne Close, Hilsea, cried and whispered ‘thank you’ to the judge.

This is after three years of calculated benefit theft.

She will be electronically monitored under a curfew order between 8pm and 7am every day. Cooper declined to speak to The News.

16 Nov 2015

Benefit fraud was just one of her tools

An escort agency boss funded a lavish lifestyle and sent her children to elite private schools by dodging tax and claiming benefits. (h/t Dave)

Mother-of-five Janine Adeleke, 43, raked in handouts from the state while running Carltons of London, which describes itself as the capital’s “finest luxury boutique escort service”.

One of her children was reportedly sent to an exclusive private school – which charges fees of up to £30,000 a year – and her family enjoyed top-end gym membership and private medical care.

In total, she spent £120,000 on private schools between November 2006 and January 2014, as well as shelling out tens of thousands of pounds for beauty treatments and holidays.

Adeleke funded the luxurious lifestyle by running the agency offering the “finest London escorts for gentlemen of distinction” from her home in Bexhill-On-Sea, East Sussex.

She used her elderly mother’s bank account to launder £157,000 in a scam which saw her hide a total of £650,000 from the taxman. There is no suggestion her mother knew what was going on.

The HMRC said she stole more than £300,000 in unpaid income tax, National Insurance Contributions and Tax Credit Payments, as well as claiming more than £37,000 in income support.

Adeleke was jailed for three years after being found guilty of money laundering, cheating the public revenue, and Tax Credits and benefit fraud at Canterbury Crown Court, the HMRC said.

Richard Las, Deputy Director of the HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service said: “Adeleke broke the law to fund a lavish lifestyle and private education for her children, stealing money from vital public services designed to support and help struggling families. Adeleke claimed to be penniless, but this was far from the truth.”

Confiscation proceedings have started to reclaim the money stolen by Adeleke, the HMRC said.


13 Nov 2015

Light sentence for benefit thief

An Asfordby woman must pay back more than £13,000 after being found guilty of benefit fraud offences.

Christine Gascoigne, of Main Street, was convicted of two charges of knowingly failing to promptly report changes in her circumstances on her claims for housing benefit and council tax benefit to Melton Council and two charges of making a false statement and knowingly failing to promptly report changes in her circumstances to the Department for Work and Pensions, JobcentrePlus.

Gascoigne, who appeared in court on October 12, had failed to report she had capital in excess of the allowed levels in 2010 and 2011, which she had received from an inheritance and sale of inherited properties.

She was sentenced to a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay the council costs of £2,826.50. She was also ordered to pay back the full £11,040.50 overpayment of housing and council tax benefit and £2,414.34 income support which she fraudulently obtained from the council and the Department for Work and Pensions.


Benefit thieves do it for the money. They should have to pay back twice what they stole. They should not be eligible for any benefits until they have, and they should have to do some unpaid work every week until the debt to society is cleared.

That would be a deterrent.

12 Nov 2015

Conditional discharge for benefit thief

On Tuesday 27 October at Redhill Magistrates’ Court, Sharon Adams pleaded guilty to failing to tell the Council of her change in circumstances, which led to an overpayment of housing benefit of £6,434 and of council tax support of £1,222. (h/t Dave)

Mrs Adams was given a two year conditional discharge and ordered to pay the Council’s costs of £220 and £15 to the victim support fund.

Mrs Adams received the overpayment between December 2013 and October 2014, after she failed to tell the Council about her employment. She notified the Benefits team about an increase in working hours, but there is no evidence she had told the Council she had started a job.

Following an interview under caution, Mrs Adams admitted this and also that her partner had started employment, which she had also failed to declare. The Council’s investigation officer believed there was enough evidence to bring a prosecution.

Councillor Martin Fisher, Chairman of the Resources Committee, said: “Whatever Mrs Adams personal reasons for not telling us of her change in circumstances, this is a serious offence and theft of public money. In cases like this we have no choice, but to prosecute.”

11 Nov 2015

Cancer sufferer rightly spared jail for benefit fraud

A benefits cheat who was caught bowling despite insisting that he could barely walk has been spared jail because he is now suffering from lung cancer.

John Larder was filmed by undercover investigators playing sport, mowing the lawn and shopping at the same time as claiming £19,000 in disability allowance.

A judge told him that his 'blatant fraud' had earned him a jail sentence - but added that the punishment would be suspended because Larder, 63, is gravely ill.

The fraudster, from Huncoat in Lancashire, claimed a total of £18,646 from the State over seven years, saying he could walk just eight yards and could not get out of bed or eat his meals unaided.

Last year officials became suspicious and started investigating him - discovering that not only was he much more healthy than he claimed, but he was also working as a part-time greenkeeper at an Accrington bowling club. Burnley Crown Court heard that he could be seen 'walking backwards and forwards across the green for the duration of the matches which lasted 45 minutes to an hour'.

He pleaded guilty in August to failing to notify the DWP of a change in circumstances affecting his entitlement to disability living allowance.

Now in November he has been handed a 20-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, after Judge Beverley Lunt concluded that he was too ill to be jailed.

Robert Elias, defending, said Larder was 'extremely ill' after contracting cancer and having part of a lung removed.

The judge told him: 'To be claiming money and know you're claiming money because you say you can't walk and you are pushing lawn mowers around crown bowling greens, I'm sorry but that's just blatant. There are people who need mobility aids, cars and all of that because they cannot walk. You don't see them mowing lawns and being a paid greenkeepers and playing bowls. How you thought you would not be discovered is astonishing. You are still in receipt of benefits and you are now in serious ill-health, but not for what you were claiming then. For such a blatant fraud I would've sent you immediately to prison, however you are now suffering from lung cancer, you are undergoing severe treatment, therefore it would not be in yours or society's interest to send you to custody today.'

Mr Elias said: 'He has brought about shame and publicity and feelings of guilt and social inadequacy. He is a decent working man who has worked all his life with no convictions, who has now had to endure his naming in the newspapers and pilloried.'

The court heard that Larder is repaying the taxpayer for the money he stole, but can only do so by relying on benefits!

Source with pictures