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Thursday 21 March 2013

Benefit fraudster ordered to repay money


Cheshire East Council has successfully clawed back more than £140,000 from a convicted benefit fraudster.

The Authority’s consumer protection and investigations team secured a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act against Syed Sabur Ali for £142,055.54.

Ali, 61, had previously pleaded guilty of six counts of dishonestly making a false statement or representation by failing to declare that he had capital exceeding £16,000 with a view to obtaining housing and council tax benefit, following a prosecution by the Council’s benefit fraud team. 

Ali was found to have benefitted from a criminal lifestyle to an extent of £166,960.89 and had £142,055.54 of assets available for the purposes of confiscation.

At Chester Crown Court (on March 14), Ali, of Osprey Drive, in Wilmslow, was told that he must pay £15,251.90 within 28 days of the order and the remaining £126,803.64 within six months of the order or face an 18-month default prison sentence and still be liable for payment of the order.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cabinet member in charge of communities and regulatory services, said: “This case sends out a clear message that we will not only go after people who commit benefit fraud, but that we will also look to deprive them of the proceeds of their crime wherever possible. 

“The benefit system is there to help those who need it most. Abuse of this system will not be tolerated.

“This investigation sends out a clear message that crime doesn’t pay.”

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