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4 Oct 2017

Benefit fraud gets right punishment - a long time later

A landlord who committed benefit fraud while renting out four homes and holding senior posts at two companies has been ordered to repay £135,000 or face jail.

Salih Ozbay, from Walthamstow, was originally jailed in June 2015 after being found guilty of four charges, including three benefit fraud offences and one money laundering offence.

Waltham Forest Council investigators discovered Ozbay had falsely claimed £25,850 in Housing Benefit and £1,880 in Council Tax Benefit between March 2008 and July 2012.

While making the fraudulent claims, the 40-year-old failed to declare he was the owner of four rental properties, was receiving student loans and grants and was a company secretary at two businesses.

During that time, he also unsuccessfully applied for discretionary housing payments, claiming that he was suffering severe financial hardship, and needed additional funds.

Ozbay was jailed for a year for the deception. However, on September 7 this year at Snaresbrook Crown Court he was ordered to repay a total of £135,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act. If he fails to give back the ill-gotten cash by December, Ozbay faces another 18 months behind bars.

In his sentencing, Judge Alastair Hammerton described the fraudster’s actions as a: “brazen attempt to obtain benefits” he was not entitled to.

He ordered Ozbay to pay a confiscation order of £83,600 plus legal costs of £51,400, a total of £135,000.

Waltham Forest Council leader, Cllr Clare Coghill, said: “This sentence shows that you will be caught if you commit a crime and steal taxpayers’ money. We will not give up until we get the right result for the taxpayer. He has to pay the fine by December 7. If he doesn’t, then he will go to prison for 18 months. While in prison, the debt would still incur interest and on his release he would still have to pay the confiscation order. So either way, we are able to claw back the money.”

Source

So the fraud took place between 2008 and 2012. He was jailed in 2015. Now he's back in court for a confiscation order - in 2017.

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