13 Aug 2015

The sleazy benefit fraud economy

Undercover reporters investigating benefit cheats for a Channel 5 documentary were shocked to discover a whole host of illegal activities at a Nottingham mini-mart.

As well as getting staff to admit they were still claiming unemployed benefits, investigative journalist Paul Connolly and his team also found evidence that the store was selling counterfeit cigarettes and antibiotics without prescriptions.

The dodgy dealings are revealed in an episode of Undercover Benefits Cheat after a reporter, equipped with a hidden camera, obtained a job at the shop in the Midlands.

She tells the shop manager, known as Aram, that she would like to work full-time whilst still claiming Jobseeker's Allowance.

The handout is only available to those who work up to 16 hours a week - so Aram tells her he will pay her cash in hand and fudge her payslips.

He said: 'If one day the Jobcentre push you to work, do full-time but we'll give you payslips for only 16 hours a week. If anybody comes in, even if it's next year, just say you've started work. If they see you working, say "this is my first day".'

The undercover reporter finds she's not the only one given such an offer of employment at the store.

Another worker tells her he still claims benefits despite being employed. He said: 'It's better for you to still go to the Jobcentre, don't tell them you are working here. I get the money, there's no one who knows I am working here.'

Whilst working undercover, the reporter appears to discover the store has a lucrative black market trade in smuggled cigarettes and under-the-counter medicine.

She found evidence of counterfeit goods hidden around the store in trap doors under fridges and secret compartments behind shelves and air conditioning vents.

When Trading Standards Officers pay a surprise visit, the reporter is given a bag stuffed with illegal products and told to run away from the store with them via a back entrance.

When she returns when the coast is clear, Aram admitted: 'If she'd have been caught, we'd have lost everything.'

Aram and his employees are seen selling the counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco powder at cut prices and they avoid putting them through the till so there is no record of the sale.

They also sell prescription-only medication in the same manner.

Aram admits he has no idea what the drugs he sells are for and he does not ask customers to show him a prescription in order to obtain them.

When a mother comes in asking if a prescription-only drug on sale is suitable for children, he said: 'We have antibiotics but maybe not for children, I'm not sure, you have to read if it's good for children or not.'

He later admits to the undercover Channel 5 employee: 'We have Duomox, Kattanol, Augemen, are they antibiotics? You tell me I don't know. Do you have to have a prescription? No, just sell them like that.'

Duomox is a amoxicillin-based drug - a penicillin antibiotic that fights bacteria with a long list of side effects including stomach cramps and passing blood. The other drugs are actually believed to be Augmentin, used to treat bacterial infections, and Ketonal - a drug for preventing and treating postoperative pain. The NHS website warns that taking extra doses of Augmentin, even one additional tablet, can prove harmful.

At the end of the show, the undercover reporter reveals her true identity and Paul Connolly arrives with a camera crew to confront Aram, who denies any wrongdoing.

He tells Paul, while physically shoving him out of the shop door: 'I only offered her part-time work. Get out, you're not welcome here, you have to leave.'

Paul said: 'He tried to deny it all but he struggled to do so because he knew exactly what he was doing was wrong.'

He added of Amran and the other benefits cheats he exposes on the show: 'They might not be hardened criminals but they don't have to be to rip off the benefits system. It's a crime that is anything but victimless because it's you, me and the decent, honest people on benefits who pick up the bill.'



Anonymous said...

I see a lot of payslips for either 16 or 24 hours per week (the minimum required for a couple to claim Working Tax Credits) ALWAYS for small businesses such as this or takeaways.

You can also print off payslips from the internet - I.R.I.S.

Currently seeing a lot of Pakistani and Bangladeshi men who have Italian passports so they can claim in UK. They bring their wives and children over and then claim - EVERY SINGLE CLAIM IS FOR 24 HOURS MINIMUM WAGE paid in cash!

Drew 2u said...

Alot of Europeans come to Britain and take advantage of our willingness to improve their lives. The channel 5 programme at one point revealed a non English speaking polish woman defrauding our benefits system whilst working and receiving income through paypal online.I was disgusted and amazed that you don't even need to speak English yet you can corrupt and abuse our welfare system I also assume we foot the bill for her interpreter. The Romanians were...well-Romanians we expect nothing but parasitic behaviour of them with no attempt to even shield their immoral and blatant disregard for our laws and hospitality. This in- mind brings me to an overwhelming ubiquity everywhere with other like minded British people seeing this atrocity filling us with disdain and negative attitude towards this swarming pestulance manifesting into RACISM. Nigel Ferage is becoming evermore popular-great!!!

Drew 2u said...

The channel five programme at one point focused on a Polish woman defrauding the welfare system whilst earning a profitable regular income online via Pay-Pal.
She also spoke not a word of English so it amazed and horrified me that she was able to do this for some time (years) without any knowledge of our language!
We also (British tax payer) footed the bill for her language interpreter whilst she ripped us off-("Thanks bitch!!") Another "ONE" this time a Romanian kept a house (council) with I-Kid-U-Not fifteen of the sods all paying her rent claiming housing benefit eight bunk beds were discovered which she claimed were to be shipped to Romania when confronted about the situation of lodging income. Well I know Romania is a pretty fu**ed up place but c'mon really-who over there needs the bunk-beds...
C'mon fellow brits time for some pride in our patriotism because everytime we attempt to reveal it or show our flag we get called Racist. I say fu** em they are so ungrateful for our aid its atrocious they are laughing at our hospitality draining our services skimming us blind!!!
I am by all means not a racist if I was I would account for and own it.
I am just being real and speaking my mind after all this is still a free state is it not?
Ok they want to all come here and better themselves but I have not heard from one whom has been accepted sing our praises in appreciation.
We cant accommodate them all so why don't they get real and love their OWN country and apply some of that will and tenacity they have shown to get here and put it into rebuilding their lives over there. Why leave a perfectly good patch of land? I am a hundread percent sure that if we(Britain) took it over republicly and gave it a system and organised it farmed it and civilised it with morals and laws they would be screaming for it back!!! Enuff said Fu** em!!!