Statcounter

3 Nov 2014

Benefit thief "single" mother jailed

A South Shields benefit cheat who claimed she was a single mother pocketed £123,000 in handouts she wasn’t entitled to while living with her partner in his house.

For 12 years Jean Ahmed said she was a lone parent when in fact she was sharing the house with her partner and their four children.

A court heard Ahmed received various benefits between 2001 and 2013 which she would not have got if the authorities knew she was living with Abdul Ali. In fact Mr Ali owned the house and the pair were living “as if they were man and wife”. Now the 43-year-old, a respected member of her community and never in trouble before, is behind bars.

Locking her up at Newcastle Crown Court, Recorder Euan Duff said:
This is a huge amount of money obtained from the public purse. The benefits system benefits those who are in need and who deserve money and who depend on it. It is harmed by people of your sort who claim dishonestly and take huge amounts away from the public purse. Accordingly I regret to say I cannot suspend the sentence.
The court heard Ahmed had been claiming income support, housing tax benefit, council tax benefit and job seekers allowance at various stages. But she failed to tell the DWP her landlord was also her partner and they were living as a family.

Tony Cornberg, prosecuting, said: “The case is based on documents and the fact Mr Ali was living with her as if they were husband and wife. The evidence initially was that he was using the address for banking, mortgage and finance purposes. It turned out he owned the house and she was the tenant. Surveillance was carried out between August 2012 and April 2013 at the address and Mr Ali was leaving and returning regularly.”

When Ahmed was interviewed she made full admissions, confirming they were in a relationship and had four children. She said she was motiviated initially by money but was then too scared to come clean. She pleaded guilty to four benefit fraud charges to the tune of £123,201 and was jailed for 15 months.

Vic Laffey, defending, said Ahmed had a string of glowing references and had done good work in the community, including helping with an art project for people with learning difficulties and a play group for disabled children: “She is someone who has done remarkable things throughout her life and contributed to the community in which she lives. She has led an otherwise exemplary lifestyle and has dreaded these proceedings for some time. Her concern for her children is above all else. She is committed to her children, two of whom are young and one of whom is very unwell. This will never happen again and she wishes to start paying back the money as soon as possible. She is able to make a positive contribution to the community and is doing a degree at Sunderland University.”

Source

No comments: