Benefit cheat must pay back extra after losing bid to overturn fraud conviction

Published: Monday 5th June 17

A benefit cheat from Tooting is £1,000 worse off after a failed attempt to overturn her fraud conviction.

Rukhsana Abbas was first convicted of fiddling benefits at Wimbledon Magistrates Court in September last year.

And last month her attempt to overturn that conviction was thrown out at Kingston Crown Court. Instead she was ordered to hand over an extra £1,000 in court costs on top of the £3,115 she had previously been ordered to pay. She was also ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid community work.

The court heard that Ms Abbas, who had previously lived in Penwortham Road, but is now residing in Wellington Mews, submitted a claim for housing benefit for an address in Hepdon Mews, Tooting.

She stated she was paying her landlord £1,800 a month and produced a formal tenancy agreement to this effect.

But the document was fake – she wasn’t paying the landlord and instead she was handing the cash straight over to her father Zafar Khatana who had rented the property and was living there with Ms Abbas’s mother and sister. This meant that the entire family could live there virtually rent free with taxpayers footing the bill.

When discrepancies were detected in her claim fraud investigators from both Wandsworth Council and the Department of Work and Pensions moved in.

In total she fraudulently claimed more than £8,800 in housing benefit. She will now be required to pay this money back to the public purse – in addition to the court costs she has been ordered to pay.

Anyone with information about benefit fraud being committed in the borough can call (020) 8871 8383 or email SWLFP@wandsworth.gov.uk.

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