Benefit fraudster from Ilford given a month to repay �40,000 by judge

A benefit cheat who stole more than �40,000 from taxpayers to fund his mortgage has been given a month to repay the money or face jail.

Raj Bagga, 57, secretly had �50,000 in savings while he claimed income support payments between March 28, 2002 and September 8 last year.

Bagga also insisted he did not know his wife was employed as a cleaner at Eastwood Primary School in Roehampton, south west London after failing to declare her income to the department of work and pensions.

He also covered up having various bank accounts on an income support review form submitted on October 1, 2002, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard on Friday

Deferring sentence until September 14, Judge Jacqueline Beech described Bagga’s crimes as a ‘blatant abuse of the benefit system’.

She said: “Whatever the family circumstances were at the time, I can’t accept that he didn’t know his wife was working for 17 months when they shared the same house”.

‘I’m going to adjourn the case for a month. That will give Mr Bagga and his relatives enough time to see where they are going with returning this money to the Department of Work and Pensions,’ Judge Beech said.

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‘The family must try and find the money and have it available to be paid back.

Prosecutor Daniel Benjamin said the total cash swindled from tax payers was �41,162.92.

Bagga had been claiming benefits legitimately from June 1991 until March 2002, when the fraud began.

‘A claim was made on behalf of himself and his wife on the basis that he was unfit for work and they had no other income,’ Mr Benjamin said.

Bagga, of (70) Barley Lane, Goodmayes, Ilford admitted two counts of failing to notify a change in circumstances to obtain benefit and a further count of making a false representation to obtain benefit.

He will be sentenced on September 14.