Woman jailed for fraudulently claiming five different benefits

|News, Fraud and economic crime

A woman who was fraudulently claiming five different benefits and cheated the state out of £260,000 has been jailed for two years.

Nasreen Akhtar
Nasreen Akhtar

The Crown Prosecution Service said Nasreen Akhtar, 50, who’s from Howgill Crescent in Oldham, claimed a complex, raft of benefits between 2002 and 2013.

She claimed:

  • Housing Benefit as a single parent for a house she pretended she rented but actually owned jointly with a partner she denied she had.
  • Council Tax relief on the same property on the same basis.
  • Income Support as a single parent reliant on benefit money when she in fact owned other properties and had significant savings.
  • Disability Living Allowance as a person with extremely poor mobility and significant care needs, needing help and assistance all day every day when she was actually capable of ordinary day-to day activities and was seen out and about with her family and dancing at a wedding.
  • Employment and Support Allowance, again, as single parent, too ill to work, reliant on Benefit money although she was really living with her working partner and owned a second home.

Following a tip off, Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) investigators began covert surveillance of Ms Akhtar in 2012 and in 2013 police raided her home, where a wealth of evidence was gathered. This included documents, home videos and the partner she claimed she didn’t have asleep in her bed.

By the time the DWP and local authority were able to end her claims, she had robbed the taxpayer of over £260,000. Today (11 October 2019), at Manchester Crown Court, she was jailed for two years.

Simon Tunnicliffe of Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service Fraud Unit, said: “This was an extremely complex benefits fraud case that went way beyond the average case.

“It has taken the CPS and the DWP three years to bring this woman to justice as, shortly after the start of her trial in 2017, she attempted, at further cost to the taxpayer, to have herself found unfit to stand trial.

“Earlier this year we brought even more compelling evidence that Ms Akhtar was trying to hoodwink the court and the judge decided that she was fit and well enough to stand trial.

“On 7 October 2019 at the pre-trial preparation hearing, in the face of a well-constructed case and overwhelming evidence, Ms Akhtar pleaded guilty to a total of seven counts of fraud against her local authority and the DWP.

“She has now been sentenced to two years in prison and Proceeds of Crime proceedings will begin to recover taxpayers' money which is badly needed elsewhere.”

Further reading