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Showing posts with label abroad fraud. Show all posts
Showing posts with label abroad fraud. Show all posts

31 May 2019

Pensioner claimed benefits while living abroad

A pensioner fraudulently claimed more than £25,000 in benefits while living abroad.

Terrence Sylvester, 79, admitted three counts of benefit fraud when he appeared at Hull Magistrates’ Court after returning to the UK.

Magistrates said his offending was so serious it crossed the custody threshold – but Sylvester was spared an immediate jail sentence as it would be "unjust to send him to prison" because of his age.

Between May 28, 2014, and November 5, 2017, he dishonestly claimed a total of £25,561 in disability living allowance, pension credit, and housing benefit after failing to inform the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) he was living abroad.

Sylvester was sentenced to 24 weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months. He was ordered to pay £200 - made up of £85 costs and a £115 victim surcharge - at £5 a week.

Court records do not state where Sylvester was living when out of the country.

Source

20 May 2019

Benefits agencies are 'overburdened and have over-stretched resources'

A benefits cheat has been ordered to pay back nearly £88,000 she wrongly claimed while living in Spain, but not until the year 2977.

Jayne Kitching, 53, is paying back the amount she defrauded at a rate of just £7.65 per month, Grimsby Crown Court has heard.

At the rate agreed by the Department of Work and Pensions and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, it would take 958 and a half years, or up to the year 2977.

Based upon the average life expectancy of 80 for a Grimsby woman, that could leave a total of £84,683 unpaid.

In court the mother of two admitted cheating the public revenue between July 2013 and August 2016.

She obtained income support, disability living allowance and carer's allowance having failed to tell authorities she had moved to Spain.

Kitching also admitted taking tax credit from HMRC between September 2013 and April 2017 and failing to failing to let agencies in the UK know that her children had been taken into care in Spain.

Prosecuting Nigel Clive said she claimed the benefits while living in Spain with her children. She did not tell agencies in the UK she had moved abroad.

Mr Clive said her children were taken from her and placed in the care of local authorities in Spain.

He said: 'The money she claimed was used for ordinary day-to-day living costs and to pay Spanish legal teams over her childcare claims. There was no lavish lifestyle.'

The children were not returned to her until April 2017 and the prosecutor said she has so far paid back £400.

He said: 'She gets £2,000-a-month now. She is repaying at £7.65 per month and there is no indication that she has any form of assets.'

The court was told she is the registered carer for one of her teenage children.

For Kitching, Craig Lowe said his client 'cuts a disconsolate and pathetic' figure.

He said: 'She is not the most intelligent of individuals and there was no prospect of success. It was only a matter of time before she was caught.'

Recorder Abdul Iqbal QC questioned why authorities had not detected her claiming benefits while living in Spain. He asked: 'How would they know if she was living in Doncaster, or Grimsby or Malaga?'

Mr Clive said she had posted on Facebook how much she was looking forward to moving to Spain with her two teenage children and said the DWP had been tipped off.

Recorder Iqbal imposed a 12-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months.

He said he was doing so as 'an act of mercy towards her children' and to avoid them having to be taken into care. He said: 'I hope you are thoroughly ashamed of your dishonesty.'

He added benefits agencies in the UK are 'overburdened and have over-stretched resources' which she had taken from dishonestly.

Kitching has also been ordered to undergo 20 days of rehabilitation.

Source with pictures

14 Feb 2019

Facebook postings derailed claims in Spain

A benefits cheat swindled over £46,000 of housing handouts — while boasting of her Spanish property business on Facebook.

Louise Jones, 50, was claiming UK disability benefits for nearly a decade despite living in Spain.

She was also claiming housing benefits for a property in Victoria Dock, Hull, alongside one in nearby Cleethorpes.

Both were owned by her husband, Bruce McHardy — but the couple were at that time living near Alicante, in Spain.

In total, Jones illegally claimed a staggering £46,000 between 2007 and 2016.

But Exeter Crown Court heard how Jones caught herself out after she posted pictures of her wedding to Mr McHardy, a property developer, on social media.

With photos on her Facebook page of her engagement to Mr McHardy in 2015 and her wedding in July 2017, she also described herself as managing director of his Spanish property business, McHardy Spanish Properties.

Jones' Linkedin page also listed her as the managing director of another property venture, Blanca Sales and Rentals.

She admitted eight counts of benefit fraud and was jailed for six months, suspended for two years, by Judge Peter Johnson. He also set a timetable for the seizure of any remaining assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The court heard that Jones was in a "controlling" relationship and that the couple's marriage was short-lived, with Mr McHardy leaving her as soon as her benefits cash dried up.

She had to move back to her family in Devon and face the music.

The judge told her: "You were a person of good character but that has been blown away. This was dishonesty of a high order which represents a deeply entrenched course of dishonesty on your part.

"You claimed housing benefit on two properties where you said you were living when you clearly were not. I accept you were perhaps in thrall to a controlling individual in a relationship which came to an end as a result of the cessation of these benefits."

Miss Sally Daulton, prosecuting, said Jones claimed a total of £46,867.14 in disability and housing benefits and employment support allowance.

She also claimed another £33,000 in severe disability allowance, but was entitled to claim that even when living in Spain.

Checks showed she had spent more than half of each year abroad and Facebook posts recorded her relationship with Mr McHardy.

She made full admissions, has never been in trouble before, and medical notes showed she did suffer from arthritis and depression and would have been entitled to claim benefits in Britain.

Source with pictures

22 Jan 2019

Suspended sentence for £46k benefit fraud

A benefits cheat swindled over £46,000 of housing handouts — while boasting of her Spanish property business on Facebook.

Louise Jones, 50, was claiming UK disability benefits for nearly a decade despite living in Spain.

She was also claiming housing benefits for a property in Victoria Dock, Hull, alongside one in nearby Cleethorpes. Both were owned by her husband, Bruce McHardy — but the couple were at that time living near Alicante, in Spain.

In total, Jones illegally claimed a staggering £46,000 between 2007 and 2016.

But Exeter Crown Court heard how Jones caught herself out after she posted pictures of her wedding to Mr McHardy, a property developer, on social media.

With photos on her Facebook page of her engagement to Mr McHardy in 2015 and her wedding in July 2017, she also described herself as managing director of his Spanish property business, McHardy Spanish Properties.

Jones' Linkedin page also listed her as the managing director of another property venture, Blanca Sales and Rentals.

She admitted eight counts of benefit fraud and was jailed for six months, suspended for two years, by Judge Peter Johnson. He also set a timetable for the seizure of any remaining assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The court heard that Jones was in a "controlling" relationship and that the couple's marriage was short-lived, with Mr McHardy leaving her as soon as her benefits cash dried up.

She had to move back to her family in Devon and face the music.

The judge told her: "You were a person of good character but that has been blown away. This was dishonesty of a high order which represents a deeply entrenched course of dishonesty on your part. You claimed housing benefit on two properties where you said you were living when you clearly were not. I accept you were perhaps in thrall to a controlling individual in a relationship which came to an end as a result of the cessation of these benefits."

Miss Sally Daulton, prosecuting, said Jones claimed a total of £46,867.14 in disability and housing benefits and employment support allowance.

She also claimed another £33,000 in severe disability allowance, but was entitled to claim that even when living in Spain.

Checks showed she had spent more than half of each year abroad and Facebook posts recorded her relationship with Mr McHardy.

She made full admissions, has never been in trouble before, and medical notes showed she did suffer from arthritis and depression and would have been entitled to claim benefits in Britain.

Source with pictures

11 Jun 2018

£35k benefit fraudster ordered to repay the full amount

A man who committed a £35,000 benefit fraud on his return from a life in Spain has failed in his bid to reduce the amount he must pay back.

Michael Dugdale, 69, was previously handed two suspended prison sentences and ordered to fully repay the wrongfully claimed cash, after a court heard he failed to declare that he owned half a property in Mazarron, Murcia.

DWP fraud teams based in the UK and Spain launched an investigation into his claim after an anonymous tip off.

At the time Dugdale admitted two counts of benefit fraud, stating his dire economic situation on his return to the UK from Spain in 2007 had left him no choice but to make a bogus claim for a benefit he knew he was not entitled to. Upon his return to the country, the father-of-one, who grew up in Ribbleton, Preston, and attended Ribbleton Hall High School, failed to declare his share of the Spanish property when making a claim for Pension Credit in 2007.

He was ordered to repay the funds in full at a subsequent Proceeds of Crime Act hearing or face imprisonment. He launched a bid at Preston Crown Court to vary the order on the basis he no longer has the assets. It is understood he claims to have spent all but £15,000 of his £46,000 share of a house in Spain on more pressing debts.

Judge Philip Parry refused his application.

Source

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.

30 Mar 2017

Serial OAP sponger jailed

Pensioner Alan Barlow dishonestly pocketed £93,659.90 in benefits after claiming he was living in Stoke-on-Trent – when he was really in Thailand with his new wife and two children. (h/t Tenancy Fraud)

The 67-year-old kept his Potteries council house as a 'bolt hole' and would return to the UK for NHS medical treatment.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard Barlow falsely claimed council tax benefit, housing benefit, pension credits and disability living allowance (DLA) for several years – and even continued after being convicted of benefit fraud in 2011.

Now the defendant is starting a 16-month jail term after admitting four further counts of benefit fraud.

Barlow was correctly granted DLA in 2005 after suffering from a number of health problems, including multiple sclerosis and chronic lung disease.

Prosecutor Richard McConaghy said: "The fraud comes from the fact that for the main part, at least from 2010, he was living in Thailand. He met his now wife there in the late 1990s and began to spend more and more time there."

The court heard Stoke-on-Trent City Council stopped his council tax benefit and housing benefit in 2008 because of the time he spent in Thailand. He successfully got the benefits reinstated after saying he had been unaware of a rule that prohibited him from claiming while spending a period of more than 13 weeks out of the country. But he continued to spend most of his time in Thailand.

Mr McConaghy said: "In 2011 he received a conditional discharge from magistrates in relation to benefits, for exactly the same reasons we are concerned about in this case, and for exactly the same reasons his housing benefit and council tax benefit were cancelled in 2008 – that this country was no longer his main residence. It didn't stop him. He married in Thailand in 2014. The relationship he had there involved two children – one of whom was adopted. His council house in this country was used as a base to get medical treatment."

Barlow pleaded guilty to three counts of dishonestly failing to notify a change in his circumstances, and one of cheating the public revenue.

The court heard Barlow has started paying the cash back - at a rate of £30-a-week.

Robert Holt, mitigating, said: "He had a desire to be with his family because he feared being alone. He thinks he has not very long left in his life and he wishes to die in Thailand."

The court heard Barlow is on the waiting list for another council house in the city.

Jailing Barlow, Judge David Fletcher said: "You were fully aware that by maintaining a permanent residence outside the UK that the claims you were making for four different types of financial assistance were fraudulent. Having been convicted, you simply carried on doing what you were doing before. You were perfectly content that the taxpayers in the UK funded your life, and that of your wife and children, in Thailand."

Source