“Forgotten property” leads to benefit court case

By on 05/10/2011 in News

A Moseley woman who insisted that she was unaware that she owned a property has today (October 5) been sentenced to 24 weeks in prison for 13 offences relating to Housing Benefit fraud.

Ayesha Ali, 34, of School Road was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court in relation to the fraudulent claims under the Social Security Administration Act, which were worth £17,804.

Ali's deception was uncovered by Birmingham City Council investigators after she presented herself as needy tenant while disguising the fact she was the owner of the property at School Road at which she was claiming benefit from.

When interviewed by investigators she initially maintained she was unaware she was the owner of the property, and it was pure co-incidence that of all the properties available in Birmingham, she had chosen to rent a property which she in fact owned.

She had also previously claimed benefit at other properties and again failed to disclose that she was the owner of the premises at School Road.

Ali pleaded guilty to the offences, which covered a span of five-and-a-half years, and confiscation proceedings will now be started by the council to recover the sum falsely obtained.

Councillor Randal Brew, Cabinet Member for Finance at Birmingham City Council, said: “This case should act as a stark warning to those that commit benefit fraud.

“The council has already taken successful legal action against 181 fraudsters since April this year, and will continue to do all it can to unearth such cases.

“If you commit benefit fraud we will catch you and you could go to prison - it really isn't a risk worth taking.”

Anyone suspecting that they know someone guilty of committing benefit fraud can call the City Council Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0121 303 9990.

All calls are confidential and callers can remain anonymous if they wish.

Benefit fraud can also be reported online. To find out more information visit: www.birmingham.gov.uk/bhamaudit

ENDS

For more information, please contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

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