28 Jul 2013

Housing benefit fraud couple may be jailed

A married couple have been ordered to pay back more than £16,000 after they admitted benefit fraud.

Tahira Javid was ordered to pay back £11,772 while Mohammed Ilyas was told to pay back £4,914. Javid must also pay £1,515 costs and Ilyas £7,000.

It was established that a housing benefit claim for Javid's rent was being paid to her "landlord", Ilyas, who is in fact her husband.

The couple, both 37, who lived in Fairfax Road, Normanton, appeared at Derby Crown Court where they were told they had six months to pay back the money to the council or face prison sentences.

The case was brought to court by Derbyshire Constabulary's financial investigation team and Derby City Council's housing benefit fraud team under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The act means that anyone who profits from crime can lose the financial and lifestyle gains they have enjoyed.

Financial investigator Joanne White said: "This was the first case we have worked on in partnership with the council's housing benefit fraud team and I'm delighted with the result. The case is a good example of how we can work together to get money back from people who cheat the system and take taxpayers' money."

Councillor Sarah Russell, cabinet member for resources, said:
Housing benefit can be a lifeline for people in need so it is alarming to hear of it being exploited in this way. At a time when the council is working hard to protect public services by making every penny count, it is vital we send out a clear message that such fraudulent claims will not be tolerated.

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