December 12 2013 Latest news:
Monday, February 11, 2013
Two brothers who fleeced taxpayers out of £315,000 in a house-swapping scam involving their wives have walked free after a judge said the “greatest punishment” was the loss of their good names.
Mohammed Amin, 40, and his wife, Kauser Aktar, 38, switched homes with Aftab Ahmed, 39, and his spouse Sobia Shaheen, 32, so the women could pretend to be tenants and claim a fortune in handouts.
The couples submitted bogus tenancy agreements during the 16-year-long con, raking in a total of £314,452.25, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.
Amin and Aktar, who have seven children, while living in Natal Road, Ilford, pocketed almost £153,000 from the London Borough of Redbridge.
Aktar also claimed more than £74,000 from the Department for Work and Pensions, by pretending to be a single mum.
Shaheen and Ahmed fleeced Redbridge out of more than £87,000 while living in Baden Road, Ilford.
The two couples are now saddled with debts totalling around £250,000.
Shaheen and Ahmed ended the fraud in 2010, before council investigators became aware of the scam, but Aktar and Amin continued to milk benefits until 2011.
Prosecutor Mark Himsworth said there was a “great deal of manifest dishonesty”.
Ahmed and Amin were handed 20 months in prison, suspended for two years.
Shaheen was handed a two-month jail term, while Aktar was given a four-week term, both suspended for a year.
Sentencing, judge Neil Sanders said: “You have both worked hard in terms of making a life for yourselves and in many ways the greatest punishment is the loss of your good name.”
He added: “Quite exceptionally, the mitigating factors enable me to suspend the sentences.”
Both women were also ordered to complete a 12-week supervision requirement.
Ahmed and Amin admitted conspiracy to dishonestly make false representations, dishonestly obtaining property by deception, with two identical counts laid on file.
They also both admitted conspiracy to obtain money transfers by deception, with another like count laid on file.
Aktar, of Staines Road, Ilford admitted making a false representation. Further counts of obtaining property by deception and dishonestly obtaining money transfers were left on the court file.
Shaheen admitted a single count of making a false representation.
There are still traffic jams for miles on the westbound carriageway of the A406 from South Woodford after a teenager was stabbed to death.