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31 Jul 2013

Housing benefit thief had two top range cars

A woman who falsely claimed more than £30,000 in benefits while she owned a BMW and a Porsche has been ordered to pay back the money.

Harrow Borough Council discovered Mona Maroofi, from Stanmore, had been committing fraud for more than two and a half years.

The council’s anti-fraud team was given an anonymous tip-off which triggered an investigation.

Maroofi was driving both a Porsche Boxster and a BMW, and was often seen with shopping bags from Selfridges and other designer shops.

It discovered that Maroofi had received housing benefit by claiming to be a single parent on Income Support, renting from a Mr Mohsen Baradaran Ebrahimi, who was based in Iran.

Maroofi had completed five application forms and declared that her monthly rent was £1,250 per month and that the landlord was not related to her or her children.

However, investigations then revealed her landlord was actually her ex-husband and that they had children together.

Under benefit regulations, this ruled out her entitlement and had this been disclosed at the outset, the claim would not have been successful.

Analysis of the bank account her housing benefit was paid into also revealed that there was no pattern of paid rent.

When interviewed by the council, Maroofi initially denied any wrongdoing and also denied that she was related to her landlord.

She claimed that she paid her rent in cash to her friend, who in turn paid it to her landlord.

Maroofi failed to show up for any further interviews and was arrested by police officers and fraud officers from the authority.

In her interview she read out a prepared statement which stated that she had not fully understood the forms and confirmed that she had been living with her ex-husband and paying him rent.

She also stated that she had no intention of deceiving anyone.

Maroofi admitted to five counts of dishonestly making false representations contrary to the Social Security Act 1992 at Willesden Magistrates Court on July 9.

The 45-year-old was ordered to pay a compensation order of £25,000 plus costs within two years, which amounted to a total of £29,279.30.

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