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Jail for benefit cheating company director who owned two houses

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Jail for benefit cheating company director who owned two houses

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Legal, Local Government

Jail for benefit cheating company director who owned two houses Jail for benefit cheating company director who owned two houses

A woman who fraudulently claimed £50,000 in benefits whilst owning two houses and working as a company director has been jailed.

London Crown Court heard that Mukaosolu Nneka Okonkwo, of Kingswood Close, Kennington, claimed around £50,000 in benefits between 1999 and 2008.

Lambeth Council investigators discovered that the fraudster had failed to declare significant income that she derived from her directorship of a company, Chukshe Company UK Ltd, when making claims for benefits.

Investigators also discovered that Okonkwo owned a house in Barnet worth £372,000 and another property in Kennington that she had purchased under the Right to Buy Scheme. She had claimed to be self-employed and earning around £100,000 a year on mortgage applications for her properties.

The swindler hid bank accounts from authorities when making claims for Income Support, housing benefit and council tax benefit.

Chukshe Company UK Ltd imported cars, traded cheap international telephone calls and operated a cheque cashing service.

The council became suspicious after allegations that her ex-partner, who was a council housing tenant, was illegally subletting his council home and living with Okonkwo in Kennington.

Prosecution proceedings were brought against Okonkwo by Lambeth Council, Barnet Council and the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions). She pleaded guilty to all charges in October.

Jailing her for nine months, His Honour Judge Chapple, the Honorary Recorder of Southwark, said: “The motivation for this offending I am sure is that of pure greed. These are blatant offences. Benefits are there for those that need them. I sentence you on behalf of the public who treat these offences with contempt.”

She was also ordered to pay £2,500 costs.

Cllr Paul McGlone, Lambeth Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “This was a shocking example of fraud but I’m pleased that the judge recognised the seriousness of the case and handed down a custodial sentence.

“People who claim benefits they are not entitled to are stealing from the public purse and this case sends a clear message to benefits fraudsters that they will be caught. Our anti-fraud team is saving council tax payers hundreds of thousands of pounds each year by relentlessly investigating and pursuing suspect claimants and bringing them to justice.”

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