Showing posts with label confiscation order. Show all posts
Showing posts with label confiscation order. Show all posts

9 May 2019

Ipswich woman must repay £93k after illegally sub-letting council house

An Ipswich woman who was jailed for illegally sub-letting her council home and then buying it at a large discount has been ordered to repay more than £93,000 to Ipswich Borough Council.

Before Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday, May 8, for a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act via a prison video link was Janice George, 60, who was jailed for ten months in December.

The court heard that George had lied to Ipswich Borough Council by falsely claiming she had lived at the property in Ulster Avenue, Ipswich, for five years and had used the right to buy scheme to purchase a £70,000 home for just £21,000 - a 70% discount - in 2015.

She was in fact living with a partner in Wallace Road and renting the Ulster Avenue flat to others for up to £450 per month in that time.

Between 2010 and 2015, George had received an estimated £27,000 in rent and letting agent fees.

Richard Kelly, prosecuting, said George's benefit from her offending was £93,500 and she had assets of £96,800.

Judge Rupert Overbury made a confiscation order in the sum of £93,500 to be paid as compensation to Ipswich Borough Council.


8 Nov 2016

Tax credit fraud leads to compensation order

A mum-of-three who cheated the benefits system out of more than £32,000 was ordered to hand it back.

Joanne Crumbleholme was jailed for 24 weeks in July after admitting being knowingly concerned in fraudulently obtaining tax credits.

Liverpool Crown Court that she had begun her claim legitimately after splitting up with her husband Paul Crumbleholme. When she got back together with her husband, who was working, she did not reveal this and carried on claiming.

Kevin Slack, prosecuting, said that between April 2010 and September last year Crumbleholme, who has no previous convictions, fraudulently obtained £32,472.

The 45-year-old of Edmund Drive, Leigh, re-appeared at court for a Proceeds of Crime Hearing and an out-of-court settlement was reached.

It was agreed that she had benefitted by £33,836, allowing for inflation, and has realisable assets, involving her share of the family home and a Nissan car, totalling £35,000.

The judge, Recorder Michael Blakey, imposed a confiscation and a compensation order in the sum of £32,472 to HMRC. If the money is not repaid in three months she faces 18 months imprisonment in default.

Source with picture

19 Oct 2016

Liverpool couple jailed for £100k benefits fraud

A couple were jailed after ‘taking away’ more than £100,000 in benefits ‘from people who really need help’.

Alexander Pearson, 61, and his partner Veronica Stuart, 64, from Kirkby, scammed tax payers and cheated the system for almost 12 years before being found out by Knowsley Council and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

The pair pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to the offences that ended in July 2014.

In total, the couple claimed almost £45,000 in housing benefit, more than £52,000 in income support, more than £10,000 in council tax benefits and a further £1,300 in council tax reductions. All the money claimed was over and above their entitlement and they were both sentenced to a year in prison.

Confiscation proceedings will also now begin to recover some of the overpayments.

A Knowsley Council spokesman said: “This is an excellent outcome. By claiming benefits they are not entitled to, fraudsters take money away from people who really need help. Our message is clear – we will prosecute and take action against those who are fraudulently claiming benefits.”

Knowsley Council said people can report those suspected of benefit fraud by calling 0800 0730 532. There is no need to give a name and calls are treated in confidence.


28 Sep 2016

Confiscation order eventually granted

A woman who wrongly claimed nearly £43,000 in benefits must now pay nearly £60,000.

Watford mother Bushra Begum, 72, and her daughter Tabassum, 42, claimed more than £185,000 in benefits from Watford Borough Council - more here and here - note these are from 2015.

The pair had more than £260,000 hidden away in 100 different accounts but continued claiming benefits for many years.

Bushra Begum has failed to repay her £42,666 share of the fraudulent claims to Watford Borough Council and the DWP. This is despite being handed an 18-month suspended sentence in April 2015.

However, after successful confiscation proceedings, she has been ordered to pay £59,664.73 to the two organisations by Monday October 3. If she fails to pay this amount she will be sent to prison for 18 months.


14 Jun 2016

Light sentence for wife - but now couple lose their home sale proceeds

A crime couple from Bromley have lost their family home after being ordered to pay almost half a million pounds earned from drug dealing and benefit fraud.

Matthew Harrod, 43, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in February 2014 after pleading guilty to being concerned in the supply of drugs.

His wife Fiona Kelly, 45, was given an 18-month sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 140 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to benefit fraud totalling £60,000 and money laundering.

Over two years since their conviction, a judge at Kingston Crown Court made proceeds of crime act confiscation orders last Thursday, forcing the couple to repay £490,667.

The orders included £362,000 left over from the sale of their former home in Hayes Lane, as well as £107,000 from bank accounts, a car and £3,500 cash which was seized from the flat where Harrod was arrested.

Officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) carried out a financial investigation to identify the profits the couple made from their criminal activities, taking out restraint orders for assets such as bank accounts and their luxury home.

NCA branch commander Oliver Higgins said: “Harrod and his wife made hundreds of thousands of pounds from their criminality and were able to enjoy a lavish lifestyle as a result. The NCA will use all its powers to pursue not just the criminals themselves but the money they make from their offending.”


22 Jan 2016

Benefit cheat told to pay £277k

A Birmingham benefits cheat hit with a mammoth £277,000 bill has failed to get a discount after losing a court challenge. (h/t Dave)

Kulvinder Singh, 55, from Handsworth, raked in more than £32,000 in jobseekers payments between 2001 and 2008 – despite secretly having almost a quarter of million pounds in the bank.

The fraudster’s covert cash came to light in September 2009 when his finances were investigated as part of a case at Birmingham Crown Court.

Singh pleaded guilty to three counts of dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances, and was handed a suspended sentence.

But now he has lost a challenge at London’s Criminal Appeal Court to appeal against a confiscation order for £277,000, handed to him in 2010.

At the hearing he asked Mr Justice Foskett and Judge Jeremy Carey to reduce his crushing bill.

Investigations into his finances revealed another £241,000 – on top of the dishonestly claimed benefits – which a judge ruled he could not account for honestly. He had put in no tax returns to explain the £241,000 and the crown court judge had deemed it the proceeds of “criminal conduct”.

His lawyers argued that after paying back every penny of the £32,000, the confiscation order of more than seven times the amount was ‘simply wrong’.

They added that at least £140,000 of the money came from the legitimate sale of a £280,000 house.

It was also argued that Singh had lost the money from the house sale after falling victim to an “identity fraud”.

But Judge Carey ruled that Singh had left it too late to challenge the bill.

“There is no reason why time should be extended,” he said. “The application is refused.”

Singh has already served a term of imprisonment in default of payment of the confiscation order – but could face more time behind bars if he still fails to pay up.


12 Jan 2016

Judge orders Spain to enforce benefit fraud debt

Fugitive Tyneside tax cheat Bobby Webber faces being stripped of his luxury Tenerife bolthole after a landmark legal ruling.

Club singer Webber is on the run after failing to pay back a penny of the thousands he illegally pocketed in UK benefits while living on the Spanish island.

After he failed to comply with a Proceeds of Crime Act order, a warrant was issued for his arrest in 2011 but Webber has still not paid up and remains at large.

In the past his assets could have been safe abroad but new regulations mean UK authorities now have the power to get other European member states to enforce confiscation orders.

Now, after what prosecutors say is the first application of its kind, a judge has granted permission for the Spanish authorities to chase up 73-year-old Webber’s ill-gotten gains.

Judge Paul Sloan QC, at Newcastle Crown Court, said: “These provisions enable confiscations made by the UK to be enforced by other member states.”

Webber owns a luxury villa in the Amarilla Golf complex, on Tenerife, the proceeds of which would be more than enough to pay back the £75,000 he owes.

Judge Sloan said: “The available amount, which included the property in Spain, was sufficient to meet the benefit figure and a confiscation order was made in the sum of £75,000. It has not been satisfied and the defendant is at large and has not been traced.”

Prosecutor David Comb said the successful application was the first of its type since European regulations were brought into force in the UK in 2014.

Properties held in other European countries can be confiscated by the UK authorities with the help of other member states if they are the proceeds of an offence or were used in an offence.

Webber was made the subject of a confiscation order in November 2009 after staging a five-figure benefit fraud from his Spanish home. But more than six years after he was jailed for 51 weeks, he has failed to hand over a single penny of the confiscation order. A warrant for his arrest issued in August 2011 remains outstanding.

In an interview in 2014 from his Tenerife home, Webber claimed he had been forced to accept benefit fraud allegations to protect his family and said: “If I come back to England I’ll be locked-up.”

At the time he claimed his famous bar, the Penny Farthing in Tenerife’s Los Cristianos, which he has owned for 30 years, had been closed for four months as he struggled to make a living. Webber also said his luxury £410,000 three-bedroom villa in the upmarket Amarilla Golf complex was on the market but he had been unable to offload it. And he said his marriage had collapsed and he was desperate to return to Gateshead but was “stuck” in Spain.

Webber, previously of Barmston Court, Washington, said: “I can’t pay the money, I’m divorced and I’ve had nothing but problems. I’m sitting here with no cash. I’m stuck here, the house has been up for sale since I came back. You can’t sell anything here because no-one has any money. I’m in a Catch-22, I’m stuck. It’s caused me hell. I’ve got family in England but if I go over there I’m going to get locked-up. I’ve not paid the bill. The Penny Farthing is closed, it’s been closed for four months. I’ve got no money coming in. The whole thing has upset me, everything has upset me from start to finish. I don’t need this at my age.”

Webber said he served just three months of his 51-week jail term in Durham Prison before being electronically monitored on his release.

After he finished his sentence he fled to Spain. Clips posted on YouTube from 2013 show the former club singer entertaining crowds.

During the original hearing in 2009 he admitted four offences of failing to disclose information in relation to benefits and one offence of money laundering. The total value of the offences was £75,000.

Webber had claimed council tax benefit, housing benefits, income support and pension credit while he had a home in Tenerife. He admitted failing to notify a change of circumstances, deliberately hiding his Spanish property to get £69,000 in benefits. Following his conviction he was told he must pay back the money within six months or serve 21 months in default. But that ruling - in 2009 - has fallen on deaf ears and he has failed to pay back the cash.


5 Nov 2015

Benefit cheat gets £13k confiscation order

Following a criminal conviction for Benefit Fraud, the court has imposed a £13,000 confiscation order on a Sudbury resident.

In May 2015, Miss Keirderin Knight, 45 years of age, from Gt Cornard in Sudbury appeared before Ipswich Crown Court and was found guilty of dishonestly claiming more than £13,000 in Housing and Council Tax Benefit from Babergh District Council.

Keirderin Knight began claiming Housing and Council Tax Benefit from March 2008. During her claim to benefits it was discovered she had capital she had not declared and that she had started work for Suffolk County Council in March 2012.

After a fraud investigation, officers at the Council identified that the claims put forward since 2011 were inaccurate and Miss Knight had been claiming benefits to which she was not entitled.

On 30 October 2015, Ipswich Crown Court imposed a confiscation order of £13,000 giving Miss Knight three months to repay this amount to Babergh District Council or face jail.


26 Oct 2015

Benefit thief told to repay £200,000

A woman must pay back over £200,000 following an investigation by Thurrock Council’s counter fraud team into benefit fraud.

Of that, over £46,000 must go to the council to repay benefits fraudulently received and over £43,000 to be used by the council to fight and investigate similar cases.

Eniah Nhika, 43, of Belmont Road, Grays, a Zimbabwean national, first applied for housing and council tax benefit from Thurrock Council in December 2013.

Following an investigation, she was arrested at home and a number of items were seized that later became evidence in the case. Council financial investigators obtained an order from the Crown Court restraining her assets in December 2013.

The court heard how, during the investigation, officers uncovered evidence of benefit fraud dating back to 1999 when Nhika first claimed benefits from Hackney Council.

Officers also identified benefit fraud offences, identity document offences, and a fraudulent right to buy purchase of a Hackney Council flat leading to a Magistrates’ Court summons in May 2014.

She admitted nine out of ten offences at Basildon Magistrates Court and the matter was committed to Basildon Crown Court for sentencing where she received a suspended sentence and was ordered to complete unpaid community work.

The council’s confiscation investigation discovered Nhika was receiving money from rental income in breach of the restraint order, leading further summonses and in July this year she was convicted of contempt of court and received a further four months suspended sentence.

A determined fraudster who doesn't care. But the system seems determined not to give her proper punishment.

Following the detailed confiscation investigation, on October 14 at Basildon Crown Court the following confiscation order was made: benefit from criminal conduct £371,173.72; available amount: £216,153; confiscation order £216,153.

Of that figure £32,061.17 goes to HMRC; £22,160.84 to the DWP; and £46,593 to Thurrock Council. Judge Jonathan Lodge allowed the maximum three months to pay and if it is not paid, Nhika faces a further 30-month prison sentence in addition to the sentence already handed down for the fraud offences.

HHJ Lodge expressed his thanks to Thurrock Council’s for the quality and professionalism of its investigation and its presentation of the facts.

The remaining money goes into the Home Office Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme and Thurrock Council will receive a further 18.75% of it as the investigating agency, and 18.75% as the Proceeds of Crime Act agency – funds which, by law, has to be used to “fight crime”.


22 Jul 2015

Confiscation order on benefit thief at first hearing

A fraudster claimed £22,000 in housing benefit and council tax overpayments over four years.

Glennda Rhodes, of Glenmere, Vange, admitted 11 offences of knowingly failing to notify her change in circumstances contrary to the Social Security Administration Act 1992 at Basildon Magistrates Court this week.

The 61-year-old admitted failing to declare savings, additional income from a job, her occupational pension and declaring that she was living with a partner.

Magistrates sentenced her to a 12-month community order, including 100 hours of unpaid work.

She was subject to a restraint order on her bank accounts under the Proceeds of Crime Act and a confiscation order was made.

She was also ordered to pay £3,000 costs within six months.

Cllr Stuart Sullivan, cabinet member responsible for resources, said: “This is an alarming case of fraud because of the amount involved and the fact it went on for nearly four years. Basildon Council takes these cases very seriously and will vigorously pursue those who commit these crimes. We will also push for the maximum sentence to act as a deterrent to others.”


2 Apr 2015

8 months means 3 months as confiscation hearing stalled

A benefit cheat who claimed more than £20,000 despite having a fortune in a Swiss bank account has been released from prison after just three months.

Mother of two Caroline Foxley, from the Cotswolds, was sentenced to eight months in prison on January 19 for claiming benefits while she had about £250,000 stashed in a Swiss bank account.

The 59-year-old, who previously lived in Chipping Campden but is now of no fixed address, had insisted that the money belonged to the father of her children, Dr Kurt Mayer, and could not be touched due to his alleged links with the Mafia in Italy.

She was released from prison on March 27 and attended Gloucester Crown Court today for a confiscation hearing at which the prosecution alleged she had benefited from crime by about £275,000.

However, prosecutor Stephen Mooney said the Crown still has no information about how much money remains in her Swiss bank account so the court cannot yet rule on exactly how much will be confiscated from her under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Mr Mooney said that if she does not provide evidence about how much remains in her account the court can make an order confiscating the whole sum of about £275,000 from her.

Oh just get on with it. She obviously has reasons for not co-operating.

He reminded the court that the prosecution case at Mrs Foxley's trial last year was that she had put “something in the region of £250,000” into a Swiss bank account while claiming benefits and paying private school fees for her two children.

"The real issue now is how much money is left in the Swiss bank account," he said.

He said he understood that Oliver Wilmott, representing Mrs Foxley, had made “significant progress” in finding out how much is now in the account.

What does this mean?

Recorder Peter Towler agreed to adjourn the hearing until May 13 so that her Swiss bank assets can be discovered and an order made to confiscate the money.

In October last year a jury convicted Mrs Foxley of four offences of failing to notify Cotswold District Council of a change in her entitlement to benefits.

During the trial, Mr Mooney said: "She made a calm, calculated and rational decision to top up her already quite substantial income by making false claims for benefits. This is a thoroughly dishonest woman who decided to get money she knew she was not entitled to in the hope and expectation, and arrogance, that she would not be caught."

But these process-driven officials are still letting her take the law for a fool.