24 Mar 2013

Luton solicits benefit fraud tip-offs

Two Luton men have started serving lengthy prison sentences for housing benefit and mortgage fraud. (h/t VNCounterFraud)

March Zulfiqar Ali Shah and his son Alqar Ali Shah pleaded guilty and were sentenced on March 7, after an anonymous tip off uncovered their £84,000 conspiracy.

Luton Crown Court heard how Zulfiqar Ali Shah admitted that he had always lived at Alder Crescent with his wife and children while working full time as a taxi driver.

However, his wife had been making a claim for a variety of different benefits over a number of years, claiming that she was a single parent at the address and was paying rent to a private landlord.

Enquiries showed that Zulfiqar Ali Shah had bought the property in 2000, putting it into his eldest son Alqar Ali Shah’s name.

Around this time, Alqar Ali Shah changed his name to Hadi Ali.

Housing benefit forms were then completed naming Hadi Ali as the landlord of 13 Alder Crescent, charging his mother rent.

An investigation by Luton Borough Council found that father and son had conspired together to defraud the council and the Department for Work & Pensions by saying that Zulfiqar did not live at the address and rent was being paid to a landlord who was not related.

Zulfiqar Ali Shah was given two years and three months imprisonment, and his son Alqar Ali Shah was sentenced to two years and six months.

Sue Codd, the council's principal investigations Officer, said: “This was a very complicated case that dated back to 2001. However, with tenacious work and the support of the DWP, we have managed to successfully prosecute.

“The message we are sending is clear: it only takes a telephone call and if you are committing fraud we will investigate and we will prosecute.”

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