12 Jun 2013

Benefit cheat tycoons to have assets seized in tough crackdown

Fraudsters who fund criminal empires with falsely claimed benefits will have their assets seized, as well as face jail, under sweeping new laws, reports The Express.

Teams of elite investigators will hunt some of Britain’s canniest crooks who cheat the taxpayer out of hundreds of thousands of pounds to prop up their illegal businesses.

The Department for Work and Pensions thinks the scam is so widespread it will seize assets worth an astonishing £13.5million this year alone.

New powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act mean investigators can force criminals to pay back far more than they originally stole. If they refuse, they can be jailed.

The get-tough action is another bid by Government to flush out those who see the welfare state as a limitless cash machine.

One recent success was the identification of Sly Malik, who received £39,000 in false benefit claims but was forced to pay back more than £1million.

A court ordered Malik, 48, of Barking, east London, to pay back £1,031,943 within 12 months or face five years in prison after being found guilty of 12 charges of benefit fraud.

Malik claimed jobseeker’s allowance and housing benefit, despite having a vast property empire and 70 bank accounts hiding more than £200,000.

Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform, said:
We know some criminals are cheating the benefits system and then using the stolen money to build up assets, own homes or live the high life. Criminals like these should know that not only are we going after the money they have stolen from us, but we’re going to force them to hand back money made off the back of their fraud.
Courts made 271 confiscation orders worth £8.9million last year.

In the current year, investigators estimate seizures will rise by 50 per cent.

Fraudster Emidio Miguel Salvador Do Santos, 39, of West Norwood, south London, was ordered to pay back £178,733.21 within six months or face two-and-a-half years in prison after being found guilty of opening bank accounts in false names and altering names on DWP and HMRC cheques.

Another crook, Michael Meade, 58, of Cheltenham, Gloucs, was forced to pay back £63,027 after investigators found his cash was tied up in investment bonds – which will be paid back to the taxpayer when they mature.

Meade was caught when he failed to declare an inheritance and that his wife was working.

The Government’s radical welfare reforms have already started in some areas with more than 50 benefits replaced by the single Universal Credit.

A benefits cap of £26,000 will mean no family is better off by being out of work.

Jackie Raja, head of the DWP’s financial investigations unit, confirmed that benefit fraudsters could now be ordered to hand over assets they cannot justify.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jail them and stripe them of all there asets and if there immigrants kick them out of the UK.