Crime doesn't pay for housing benefit fraudsters

30 May 2012 in Community safety
A benefit cheat who fraudulently claimed £29,100 in housing benefit is facing community service and a substantial fine after a court case brought by the council.
Raja Imran Khan of Eisenhower Drive, Beckton, had continued to claim housing benefit on a property in Viscount Drive, Beckton, despite leaving in 2007. He continued to claim benefits until February 2011 when he was caught by Newham Council’s benefits team after a routine check.

Officers from Newham Council’s counter fraud team discovered someone else living at the Viscount Drive address. They were later told by Khan that he did not have a permanent address.

His trial at Inner London Crown Court was told the investigation discovered his housing benefit claim was based on a false tenancy agreement and a false electricity bill used to infer that he was living at the claim address.

Khan pleaded guilty and he was sentenced on 14 May to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and will have to do 200 hours unpaid work. He must also pay costs of £3,000 and the benefit cash he claimed totalling £29,060.

It is just the latest case brought to court by Newham Council as part of a continuing drive against benefit fraud.

Cllr Unmesh Desai, executive member for crime and anti-social behaviour, said: “Benefit fraud is not a victimless crime. This is stealing from everyone including those who need support because of unemployment or ill health.

“These are tough times for everyone and we are determined to catch and convict those who think they can abuse the benefits system.”