A 53 year old woman from Mitcham has been found guilty of 12 counts of housing benefit and council tax fraud amounting to £104,663.75 for a over a period of almost 15 years.
Sentenced to eight months in prison at court on 20 January 2012, Mrs Samina Ahmed of 75 Caithness Road, Mitcham, pleaded guilty to the fraud, the largest the council has ever uncovered.
The premeditated fraud started back in 1997 and involved a contrived tenancy including the creation of counterfeit documents showing a false landlord, false documents and a false name. This enabled Mrs Ahmed to claim benefits by stating that she had to pay rent to a private landlord.
Using the false name of Mrs Choudry, the fraud came to light when Mrs Ahmed’s address was mentioned during another fraud investigation, involving other family members. When the claim under the Choudry name was examined, it revealed inconsistencies that prompted a full investigation.
Merton Council’s 18 month investigation found that Mrs Ahmed was in fact living in her husband’s house and wasn’t eligible for the £160 per week benefits she was fraudulently claiming. Now the case is closed Merton Council is looking to recover the money through the Ahmed family property.
Councillor Mark Allison, Merton Council cabinet member for finance said:
‘ This is an extraordinary case and good news that we have been able to bring this person to justice. Merton’s benefits system is in place to assist people in the borough who genuinely need help and it is criminals like this who set out to fraudulently claim money they are not entitled to that make it more difficult for honest people to get the help they need.’