Man jailed for benefit fraud after hijacking identity of family friend
A man from Mozambique who hijacked the identity of a Portuguese national and fraudulently claimed more than £121,000 in benefits has been jailed for two years.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that Tricamo Farid, 40, entered the UK illegally in 2000. He used the identity card he had stolen from a family friend he met in Lisbon in 1999, called Dercio Quinta.
Using this ID, he said he was a citizen of the European Union. This made him eligible to remain in the United Kingdom to obtain employment and claim state benefits if entitled.
Farid, of St Thomas More Drive in Southport, applied for a national insurance number from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as Dercio Quinta and this was granted in 2001.
He then proceeded to claim and receive social security benefits from the DWP and Local Authority benefits from Sefton Council over a period of 17 years, during which time he also married and became a father.
Over 17 years, from 5 April 2002 and 30 May 2019, Farid received over £121,177 of public funds made up of the following:
- Job Seekers' Allowance: £13,000
- Social Fund payments: £1,000
- Employment Support Allowance: £45,000
- Personal Independence Payments: £12,000
- Housing Benefit: £36,000 (for four different properties, on each occasion submitting change of address forms in the name of Dercio Quinta)
- Council Tax Benefit: £1,500
- Tax Credits: £11,500
A criminal investigation was begun in 2019 by the DWP Fraud and Error Service along with officers from Merseyside Police and officials from Sefton Council.
The suspect was interviewed under caution at Copy Lane Police Station on 29 May 2019 and admitted he had claimed benefits unlawfully by using the identity of a Portuguese national.
At his home, police found a marriage certificate, a birth certificate for his child, a bank card and general paperwork in the name of Dercio Quinta.
At a pre-trial preparation hearing on 21 April 2020, Farid pleaded guilty to 15 counts of fraud, three counts of acquiring criminal property, one count of dishonestly retaining a wrongful credit and one count of being knowingly concerned in fraudulent activity.
Today (14 May 2020) at Liverpool Crown Court, Farid was sentenced to two years' imprisonment.
Senior Crown Prosecutor George Ward of CPS Mersey Cheshire’s Fraud Unit, said: “This is a serious and significant social security benefit and local authority fraud case.
“Farid stole the identity of a man he said was a family friend and used it to fraudulently claim thousands of pounds of public money over many years.
“The benefits he claimed are urgently needed by many genuine claimants and cases like these take money from the public purse that is badly needed elsewhere.
“Essentially, Farid has been living a lie for more than 18 years, claiming to be someone he is not. Whether his family knew the truth we may never know.
“He admitted what he had done once he was arrested but that does not alter the fact that he carried on this deception for so long beforehand.
He has now been jailed and the Crown Prosecution Service hopes that this sends out a clear message to benefit fraudsters everywhere.”
Notes to editors
- George Ward is a Senior Crown Prosecutor with the CPS Mersey-Cheshire Fraud Unit