Benefits cheat with £200,000 in bank is jailed

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A FATHER has been jailed for claiming more than £20,000 in benefits while having over £200,000 in savings.

Nadeem Akhtar had 15 bank and two ISA accounts during the three years he signed up for Jobseeker’s Allowance, housing and council tax benefits while his total savings ranged from £210,000 to £219,000.

When his dishonesty came to light last year after the Department for Work and Pensions discovered he had savings in excess of the £16,000 capital limit, he said he intended his money to help his son buy a house and for a £15,000 dowry and gifts when he got married.

Akhtar, 49 of Rufford Road, Longwood, Huddersfield, was jailed for 12 months after admitting four charges of dishonestly producing false information to claim allowances.

Sentencing him at Leeds Crown Court yesterday, Recorder Martin Simpson said there was a degree of sophistication about his claims which were fraudulent from the start. He said during the three years Akhtar had at least seven occasions when he had further endorsed his dishonesty and ignored chances to stop what he was doing and tell the truth.

“By any account for those genuinely having to claim benefits you were a rich man,” he said.

Vincent Blake-Barnard, prosecuting for Kirklees Council, told the court Akhtar was overpaid in total £23,041.

In July 2010 he made an application for housing and council tax benefit and signed the declaration stating he held no money in any current accounts. He applied for Jobseekers Allowance in May 2011, saying he had a current account with £926 in and was overpaid £9,542 by July last year when he applied for income-related support allowance which is given when someone is too ill to seek work.

Mr Blake-Barnard said Akhtar had two mobile phones and admitted using one for trading in cars and televisions, no income from that had been declared.

James Keeley, representing Akhtar, said he began claiming after losing his job in 2010.

He separated from his wife, became depressed and in a “relatively short period” found his situation totally changed. He feared his savings were being diminished and out of concern for the future of his son did not want them to be further run down.

“This man is thoroughly ashamed of what he has done,” he said. He had already repaid £14,000 and was making further payments when his assets were frozen.