A Butts Farm benefit cheat has walked free from court after being found guilty of falsely claiming nearly £30,000 in housing and council tax benefits.
Richmond Council officers carried out an investigation into Najibulah Ghafari, from Hanworth in Middlesex, who falsely claiming housing benefit and council tax benefit despite the fact he had more than £16,000 in undeclared savings.
He was overpaid £29,557.99 housing benefit and £1,536.23 in council tax benefit.
Following a trial, the jury at Kingston Crown Court found Ghafari guilty on all five charges and was sentenced to nine months imprisonment for each charge, suspended for two years.
He was also ordered to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work.
Richmond Council’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Geoffrey Samuel, said: “I am delighted to see that once again the crown court has taken housing benefit and council tax benefit so seriously that a prison sentence was considered appropriate.
“Fraudsters watch out! Any attempts to defraud the residents of Richmond and you will be caught and prosecuted – this may result in you receiving a prison sentence.
“Richmond Council is determined to stamp out fraud and protect the interests of our residents.”
If you are aware of someone committing benefit fraud contact the confidential national benefit fraud hotline on 0800 854 440.
Picture courtesy of Andrew Lewin, with thanks