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29 Apr 2017

Jail for wealthy Pakistani benefit fraud couple

A wealthy Pakistani couple who fraudulently claimed £40,000 a year in benefits after claiming asylum in Britain were jailed six months apart so their children didn’t have to be taken into care.

Syed Zaidi, 41, and his wife Rizwana Kamal, 40, claimed asylum seekers’ benefit, child tax and working tax credits and child benefits for their three children – on top of free accommodation – worth £150,000, despite having more than £250,000 in the bank.

The university graduates claimed they were being persecuted in their native Pakistan and urged the Home Office to give them shelter, claiming £150,000 worth of handouts. They splashed out on two cars and moved into a Victorian terraced house in Denton, near Manchester, but were caught after a tip-off to the Home Office. It is thought they won the right to stay in the UK during their four-year scam between 2012 and 2016.

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester Judge Bernard Lever jailed the couple for ten months each after they admitted benefit fraud. But in an unusual move he delayed locking up Kamal until this week, after her husband was released having served half his sentence. It means their children will not be taken into care at further expense to the taxpayer.

Prosecutor John Wilcox told the court that £258,530 was left unaccounted for in the pair’s seven bank accounts.

The couple – believed to have entered the UK on Kamal’s student visa – were denied legal aid because of their huge savings, and represented themselves in court. Kamal begged Judge Lever to spare her jail, but he said he had to send a “powerful message” to the couple and other fraudsters.

Kamal said: “The children have been coming home from school upset, and they are all out of character and they are much more attached to me. This has been such a big lesson for us and it is a big embarrassment for this to have happened. Please don’t take me away from my children – they won’t be able to cope.”

But Judge Lever said: “This is a tragic case for your children because you and your husband both graduated university, you had thousands of pounds in the bank and you have claimed hardworking taxpayers’ money.”

Source with pictures

Despicable

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