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14 Sep 2018

Benefits assessor in large scale benefits fraud

Sancho Jayaratnam, aged 58 from Bushey, was caught red-handed in a joint effort by police and Harrow Council committing multiple acts of fraud.

He was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud by abuse of position at Harrow Crown Court, on August 9.

Jayaratnam, a former benefit assessor for the council, worked with accomplices to create bogus payments from customer claims siphoning them directly into his collaborators' bank accounts.

One such accomplice, Gabriella Morosan, aged 28, from Watford, recruited an entire network to launder the stolen money.

Morosan pleaded guilty to the same charge receiving an 18-month suspended sentence and 100 hours community service.

Jayaratnam’s claims he was coerced by a criminal gang were given short shrift by the judge, who dismissed his story as fantasy and said he must return the cash he stole or face further jail time.

Harrow Council’s anti-fraud investigators and the police’s fraud team dedicated hundreds of hours mounting a case against Jayaratnam.

In 2016, the teams uncovered evidence in Jayaratnam’s house and car including documents belonging to claimants and a cash point receipt showing a withdrawal by Gabriella Morosan.

Nine separate accounts were used to siphon 114 payments between August 2015 and November 2016, totalling £113,628.

Jayaratnam faces a proceeds of crime investigation to determine a final repayment sum. He must repay the full amount stolen plus £22,000 in costs to the council within six months or face further jail time. He may also be forced to forfeit property.

Harrow Council’s Cabinet member for finance and resources, councillor Adam Swersky, said: “I’m delighted with the work of our investigators. There's nowhere for fraudsters to hide in Harrow. Sancho Jayaratnam learnt that the hard way.

“This kind of fraud is one of the lowest forms of crime – it's stealing from taxpayers and from the vulnerable at the same time. Maybe he thought it wasn’t that serious, maybe he thought he’d get away with it – he was wrong.”

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