4 Sep 2014

How to sentence benefit thieves

A Hale man has been convicted of benefit fraud, reports The Messenger.

Smaih Chaudry, 31, of Briony Avenue, was convicted of dishonestly obtaining housing and council tax benefit, following a trial at Trafford Magistrates Court.

Mr Chaudry had failed to inform Trafford Council that he had received payments and income from his company, I-Tech Direct (Cheshire) Limited.

This resulted in an overpayment of benefits amounting to £1449.84 between December 2012 and February 2013.

On August 28, he was sentenced to carry out 80 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £1,000 towards the cost of the prosecution and a victim surcharge of £60. The council is also recovering all dishonestly-obtained monies from Mr Chaudry.

This sends two messages.

First, Trafford Council will prosecute even for small benefit frauds, with the publicity that brings.

Second, the magistrates' cost order means Mr Chaudry will be liable to pay nearly twice what he stole.

Good. These people do it for the money. Hit them in the pocket.

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