£30k housing benefit cheats jailed
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Housing, Legal
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Two swindlers who committed over £30k in housing and council tax benefit fraud have been jailed.
Ayliyah Choudhry and her husband created multiple identities to carry out the fraud.
Richmond Council's audit and investigation team discovered that Mrs Choudhry was married and had had two full-time jobs since 2007 - despite claiming she was unemployed and single.
As a result, she was overpaid £23,468.06 in housing benefit and £6,861.76 in council tax benefit.
During the investigation it was also discovered that the Choudhrys had several false identities which they had used to claim benefits both in Richmond and a neighbouring borough.
The crooks pleaded guilty to all charges in court. Mrs Choudhry was handed a 14-month custodial sentence, whilst Mr Choudhry was sentenced to 16 months.
Cllr Geoffrey Samuel, the council’s deputy leader, said: “It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice that money is incredibly tight in local government at the moment. People like this who hijack the system to line their own pockets only deprive honest council tax payers who have paid their bills expecting the money to be spent on important services.
“I cannot underline enough my anger and disgust at the very small number of people in this borough who think the rules do not apply to them. We will always seek to prosecute those who think they can amass pots of cash while others, who are in genuine need, have to scrimp and save. Equally, we will do our utmost to recover the amounts which have been falsely claimed.”