Scam which conned Redbridge Council out of thousands ‘extremely difficult to detect’

A fraud, which led to tens of thousands of pounds being given in benefits by Redbridge Council, was “extremely difficult to detect”.

Following the trial of Mohammed Amin, Kauser Aktar, Aftab Ahmed and Sobia Shaheen, the council revealed an anonymous call to its fraud team led to the eventual prosecutions.

Amin, 40, and his wife, Aktar, 38, switched homes with Ahmed, 39, and 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, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

Amin and Aktar, who have seven children, pocketed almost £153,000 from Redbridge Council, while living in Natal Road, Ilford. 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.

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All four were given suspended jail terms.

Describing it as a “planned and calculated fraud”, a Redbridge Council spokesman said: “The administration of housing and council tax benefits is subject to a very stringent verification process.

“The council has a dedicated counter fraud investigation team with an excellent track record in the successful detection and prevention of benefit fraud.

“The council will continue to vigorously combat benefit fraud within the borough to both protect the public purse and to ensure claimants receive their correct benefit entitlement.”