20 Aug 2013

Benefit fraud undetected for 10 years

A Stretford man has been sent to prison for benefit fraud.

On August 15, 58 year-old Abdurrahim Bendaw, of Kings Road, was sentenced at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.

He had pleaded guilty to dishonestly claiming housing and council tax benefit amounting to £54,493 at an earlier hearing in June.

Mr Bendaw had declared to Trafford Council that he rented his home from a private landlord.

However, a counter fraud officer investigation revealed he actually owned this property, together with a second property in Whalley Range which he failed to declare when he made his benefit claim.

This resulted in him being overpaid housing and council tax benefit between June 3, 2002 and October 4, 2012.

He was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment. When sentencing, Judge Leslie Hull, who gave discount for the early guilty plea, said: “You have clearly been dishonest and if I don’t send you to prison it will send the wrong message to the public.”

Trafford Council is seeking recovery of the full amount of benefits fraudulently obtained from it and a confiscation hearing has been listed for November 11.
  • If the government was serious about benefit fraud, it would enable confiscation orders to be made at the same hearing. Why not?
Council counter fraud officers were alerted to this case by the Council’s benefits section who identified a discrepancy with the claim.

Executive councillor Sean Anstee said
This outcome reinforces the council’s determination to crack down on the perpetrators of benefit fraud. We will not tolerate this type of fraud and this sentence highlights the serious consequences which can result from stealing money from the public purse. The council welcomes the judge’s comments and urges people to make sure they only claim for benefits which they are entitled to.
  • That would cracking down after ten years, Mr Anstee?

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