A mother and daughter posed as 100 different people to milk Britain’s benefits system out of nearly £170,000, a court heard.
For more than a decade, the pair applied for handouts, claiming to be hard-up. They were able to squirrel away £218,500 in multiple bank accounts under different names.
Investigators discovered Tabassum Begum, 41, had stashed £156,000 in 79 accounts. Her 70-year-old mother Bushra had £62,500 hidden in 21 bank accounts in fictitious names, St Albans Crown Court, Herts, was told.
The Begums were caught when Watford Borough Council launched an inquiry.
Investigators unravelled the pair’s complex crimes and were stunned by the size of the fortune they made. Between 2003 and 2012, the younger Begum raked in £35,000 in housing benefits and £11,000 in council tax relief. She also collected £80,000 from the Department for Work and Pensions - despite having enough cash in the bank to buy a two-bedroom flat in her area.
Her mother claimed £42,600 between 2007 and 2013, the court heard.
Faced with overwhelming evidence, the pair admitted fraud.
Bushra Begum, of Watford, was given an 18-month suspended sentence. Her daughter, also of Watford, will be sentenced later this month.
Council officials are now working to recover all of the stolen money.
Fraud manager Garry Turner said: “These prosecutions show the lengths to which we will go to crack down on people who abuse the system. Benefits are there to help the poorest in our society. People who commit benefit fraud are stealing from the taxpayer and we will not tolerate it.“
Actually, these cases show how much you can get away with and how long drawn out is the process to get anything back for the taxpayer.