17 Dec 2017

Immigrant benefit thief stole £38,000

A Somali refugee scammed nearly £39,000 in benefits after secretly returning home because he missed the sunshine.

Mohamed Qoomaal, 72, claimed asylum here 15 years ago claiming he feared for his life in his native country. But in 2013 he sneaked back to Somalia and had his pension credit payments wired to him there. He also let a friend live rent-free in his council-funded flat in Harrow, North West London.

The fraud came to light only when DWP investigators wrote to his Harrow address asking to see him.

Qoomaal’s pal alerted him and he returned from his home in Jidhi to meet with them early last year. He tried to hoodwink investigators with a fake immigration stamp on his passport but the game was up.

Qoomaal was jailed for 15 months after admitting two counts of dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances regarding pension credit and housing benefits from August 2013 to February 2016.

He had been continuing to receive benefits, albeit reduced by £44 a week, while his case was pending. He also demanded a taxpayer-funded interpreter during eight hearings at Isleworth crown court.

Judge Jonathan Ferris spoke of his shock at how the scam had been allowed to succeed. He said: “He came here as a refugee 15 years ago and then goes back to Somalia to enjoy the nice weather. How does that work? I don’t see why a person who took nearly £39,000, went to another country and fabricated an immigration stamp on his passport should not go to prison immediately. What ties does he have in this country apart from the benefits system?”

Qoomaal’s defence lawyer said his client went to live in a warmer climate for health reasons but he had since suffered two heart attacks in two years.

The DWP said it would find anyone who abuses the system. It added: “Fraudsters divert support from those who need it the most.”

Source with pictures

Anyone granted asylum who then visits their homeland should have their asylum withdrawn.

Send him home at the end of his sentence.

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