29 May 2015

Fine for man who helped friend commit benefit fraud

A hefty fine [well, not that hefty] has been dished out to a man from Slough who helped a friend commit benefit fraud.

Amit Kumar Sharma was fined £1,500 at Reading Crown Court after admitting to three counts of making or supplying an article, knowing that it would be used to commit or in the commission of a fraud.

If he fails to pay in time, he will go to prison for one month. He was also ordered to pay £5,000 prosecution costs within a year.

The 49-year-old falsified three documents which showed that Shereen Hamid, 42, was employed as a cleaner at Stonham housing association in Hayes, where he worked as a rent officer.

Hamid later went on to become a Slough Borough Council tenant and began submitting false ‘proof of employment’ documents while claiming benefits.

“Mr Sharma worked in the public sector and was therefore in a position of trust, which he was clearly prepared to abuse in order to assist his friend’s criminal activities,” said Cllr Sohail Munawar, commissioner for social and economic inclusion. “This is something we simply won’t tolerate and I hope it sends a clear message to anyone involved in cheating the system that we will do all we can to track them down and get the money back for those genuinely in need.”

Hamid was sentenced at a separate hearing at Slough Magistrates’ Court on October 28.

She received 20 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, and was told to pay back the full amount claimed illegally, which totalled £10,203.41 in housing benefit and £1,738 in council tax benefit. She was also ordered to pay £3,465 in costs.


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