Housing rental fraudster is foiled

By on 14/03/2011 in News

A £20,000 housing rental scam, foiled by City Council investigators, was the subject of a court case at Birmingham Crown Court today (March 14).

Khalida Begum, aged 67, of Wright Road, Alum Rock, was sentenced to a 12 month community rehabilitation order for her role in the deception of the housing benefit system, designed to protect the city's most vulnerable residents.

The court heard that Begum claimed housing benefit as a tenant from Wright Road but hid the fact that she was in fact living as a family member in her brother-in law's home.

She would not have been entitled to a single penny of the £20,537 she fraudulently claimed if she had told the council the truth about her circumstances.

When interviewed Begum initially claimed her son had made false declarations to the City Council without her knowledge, but she later pleaded guilty to two offences under the Social Security Administration Act.

She was brought to justice following an investigation in July 2010 by the City Council's Benefit Counter Fraud Team - which has taken legal action against 700 fraudsters in the current financial year.

Cllr Randal Brew, Cabinet Member for Finance at Birmingham City Council, said: “The lengths that some people will go to as they try to defraud a benefits system designed to help the needy is astonishing.

“However, as a council, we have yet again shown our commitment to driving down the levels of benefit fraud across the city.

“Whether it is one penny or £20,000 as in this case, we will do all we can to protect the public purse.”

If anyone suspects a person of committing benefit fraud, they 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

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