A benefits cheat mum falsely claimed thousands of pounds to buy a second home to get her kids into the catchment area for a better school, a court heard.
Mum-of-four Rejiya Mukith avoided jail after cheating the system by using tax payers' money for the new property.
Mukith, from Ipswich, Suffolk, got a mortgage for the £58,080 property in 2003. She later used £35,000 in income support she dishonestly obtained by lying about her financial situation to pay for the home.
Ipswich Crown Court heard the 45-year-old had cheated the system so her kids could get into the town’s Northgate High School which is rated Good by Ofsted.
Judge Rupert Overbury handed the jobless mum a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years. He said: “You committed a fraud on the benefits system over several years netting some £35,000. You used the money to purchase a second property in order that your children might receive the best education you thought to be available to them.” He added that it was his concern over the care of her six-year-old son which stopped him sending her straight to prison.
Speaking in mitigation Juliet Donovan said Mukith, believed to have been born in Bangladesh, came from a strict Muslim background, had no education and had not been permitted to work since she was married at 17. Despite this she was expected to provide for her children while her husband, who runs their family-owned business, was away for long periods of time. Rubbish
Miss Donovan said her client bought the second house because she believed Northgate High School was the best school for them to go to and she wanted to be in the catchment area.
Prosecutor Simon Gladwell told the court Mukith went on to rent out the second property, now worth £150,000, for £450 a month but didn’t tell the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) about this when she began claiming income support on 2005. She did this while claiming to have no capital assets or income.
Mukith had previously admitted dishonesty failing to disclose to the DWP that she was the owner of a capital asset when she claimed income support. The offence occurred between January 15, 2007 and October 30, 2007. Mukith also pleaded guilty to a second similar charge between February 2, 2008, and March 11, 2014. She also admitted a third charge of a dishonest failure to disclose information to the DWP which led to payments of Employment Support Allowance to her husband. This offence took place between March 14, 2014, and July 17, 2015.
The court heard a pre-sentence report had revealed Mukith had also committed the offences of greed in a bid to maintain her position in her community where others owned several properties.
Speaking from the doorstep of Mukith’s smart £250,000 semi-detached home in Ipswich, Suffolk, a woman claiming to be her sister but later identified by neighbours as Mukith herself, said: “She [Mukith] is depressed, quite depressed. She went to see the councillor. Everybody should not do that you know, say get family support rather than get punishment.”
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