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2 Aug 2013

Benefits fraudster had eight homes

A benefits fraudster has been jailed for 15 months after falsely claiming more than £33,000.

Sunil Patel was caught out after claiming for a number of different benefits from both Hounslow and Ealing Councils, despite owning eight properties across west London.

He applied for housing benefits, council tax benefits and income support for renting an apartment in Wallis House, Brentford, for a year from October 2008 even though he had bought the property for £305,000 in July the same year.

Patel claimed the landlord, Serjit Singh, lived in a property in Burlington Road, Chiswick and charged Patel £1,300 a month, however Mr Singh has never been found and it transpired Patel actually owned the Chiswick property himself.

His web of deceit went even further in January 2010 when he made a new claim to Ealing Council for housing benefit, local housing allowance and council tax benefit while he lived at a property in Whellock Road, Chiswick, which is just inside Ealing.

Unknown to Patel, Hounslow Council were already investigating his claims following an anonymous tip off in September 2009 that he was claiming housing benefits for the Wallis House apartment.

Hounslow Council's fraud team worked with the department for work and pensions to investigate the fraudster and he was sentenced to 15 months in prison after admitting two charges of fraud at Kingston Crown Court.

Ed Mayne, cabinet member for community safety and regulatory services at Hounslow Council, said:
Mr Patel committed multiple acts of fraud over a long period of time in the full knowledge that he was committing a crime. Fraud of any sort is unacceptable, and we will not hesitate to use all means at our disposal to crack down on it, and get the money back. The seriousness of the sentence sends a strong and clear message that if you commit benefit fraud in the borough, you will be caught and you will be punished.
In total, Patel illegally claimed £4,287 in housing benefit from Hounslow Council, £25,094 from Ealing Council, and £4,305 from the department for work and pensions, which he has now repaid.

Benefit thieves do it for the money. They should have to repay twice what they stole.

1 comment:

Rational Anarchist said...

£30k seems such a small amount, given that he owned many properties.

This is one way in which the benefits system is broken. It sounds like he would have been entitled to the money if he'd genuinely been renting the place (and had shifted ownership of the other places to a brother/cousin/whatever) which seems rather odd.

I'd rather see a universal benefit paid to all (including those working) and no tax free allowance, and you can live anywhere you can afford out of your universal benefit plus wages. If you don't work, you may not be able to live in London - tough. Many people who do work can't live in London...