Benefits Cheat Gets Prison For Years Of Fraud
Owned properties yet claimed a five-figure sum from two Councils
A man has been sent to prison for 15 months for falsely claiming benefits worth more than £33,000. At one stage he claimed benefits from Ealing Council while living in a property in Whellock Road, Chiswick. And he owned several properties in west London while he continued to claim benefits.
Sunil Patel applied for housing benefit, council tax benefit and income support for renting an apartment in Wallis House, Brentford, for a year from October 2008. In fact he had bought this property for £305,000 in July 2008, and owned seven other properties in west London.
He claimed the landlord, Mr Serjit Singh, lived in a property in Burlington Road which he owned himself, charged him £1,300 per month. Mr Singh has never been found.
In January 2010 he made a new claim to Ealing Council for housing benefit, local housing allowance and council tax benefit whilst living at a property in Whellock Road, Chiswick.
Unknown to Mr Patel, Hounslow Council were already investigating his claims following an anonymous tip off in September 2009 that he was claiming housing benefits for the Wallis House apartment.
The council’s fraud team worked with colleagues at the Department for Work and Pensions to investigate Mr Patel, which led to this week’s successful prosecution.
Cllr Ed Mayne, cabinet member for community safety and regulatory services at the council, said: “Mr Patel committed multiple acts of fraud over a long period of time in the full knowledge that he was committing a crime.
"Fraud of any sort is unacceptable, and we will not hesitate to use all means at our disposal to crack down on it, and get the money back.
Patel illegally claimed £4,287.39 in housing benefit from Hounslow Council, as well as £25,094.19 from Ealing Council and £4,305.56 from the DWP.
He pleaded guilty to two charges against him at Kingston Crown Court, and on 29 July was sentenced to 15 months immediate custody on each count to run concurrently. He has re-paid all of the overpayments.