£50,000 benefit fraudster cheques in… to prison

27 June 2013 in Community safety and Council and democracy
A fraudster has been jailed for seven months after he fiddled his benefits by over £50,000.
Chukwuka Nwadei, 40, of Church Hill Road, Walthamstow, denied two charges: one of failing to report a change of circumstances; another of fraud.

Chichester Crown Court - where he was sentenced - heard that Nwadei has been claiming Housing Benefit since 2001. He had also been receiving Jobseekers Allowance since 2003. He was overpaid £39,236.55 in Housing Benefits and £12,576.14 in Jobseekers Allowance.

A data match from the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) showed that Nwadei was claiming a Student Loan/ and or Grant which meant he could not legally claim benefits.

A probe by Newham Council counter-fraud investigators revealed Nwadei was enrolled as a full-time Civil Engineering student for about nine months to May 2005. Later that year, he had enrolled on a separate full-time undergraduate degree in computing, they discovered.

Nwadei denied he was a student and received student grants. However, he was nailed by student ID and statements from his bank account.

Newham Council’s Cllr Unmesh Desai, Executive Member for Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour, said: “Benefit fraud is a serious crime – as this sentence reflects. We hope this sends a very clear signal to other would-be fraudsters.

"Newham Council has a zero-tolerance approach to fraud. It cannot - and will not - be tolerated. We have rigorous systems in place to detect this sort of practice.”