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21 Oct 2013

Albanian criminal commits benefit fraud

A benefit cheat who falsely obtained over £15,000 and then left the UK in 2009 has been tracked down and sent to prison for 12 weeks after investigators refused to close the case. (h/t Dave)

During a hearing at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court, Dritan Canaj, 27, admitted five offences of dishonestly making false statements to South Cambridgeshire District Council to obtain benefit and a further charge of dishonestly failing to report a change in circumstance to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Mr Canaj claimed housing and council tax benefit from the Council and Job Seeker's Allowance from the DWP as a single person but investigators uncovered that he had a partner living with him who was in work.

Evidence gathered by South Cambridgeshire District Council counter-fraud specialists, including sworn statements to the Home Office by both Mr Canaj and his partner to support an immigration matter, confirmed they had been living together. But in his claims to the Council for benefits he declared he was living alone to fraudulently claim money.

The case was initially investigated in 2009 but Mr Canaj left the UK before the investigation could be concluded. When investigators found earlier this year that he had returned to the country the case was reopened and he was arrested and interviewed while in Police custody.

It was found that he has been overpaid £6,955.41 in housing and council tax benefit between June 2008 and September 2009 and £8,542.40 in Job Seeker's Allowance between April 2006 and September 2009 which is being repaid.

Dave points out that in 2008 Dritan Canaj was sentenced to six months' imprisonment, suspended for two years, as well as 150 hours of unpaid community work and 18 months probation supervision, for affray. He left the country the following year.

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