�63k Clerkenwell benefit cheat is not so Lucky
A woman who used the alias Lucky and swindled more than �63,000 in benefits for Islington Council was jailed for 21 months on Friday.
Ubax Said, 31, formerly of the Triangle, off Compton Street, Clerkenwell, went under the name of Ayan Artan as she claimed �63,326 in housing and council tax benefit overpayments between 2000 and 2010.
In total, she fraudulently pocketed more than �150,000 from various authorities.
Said’s activities came to light when she was arrested for suspected shoplifting and documents were found at her home with her photo, but bearing the name Ayan Artan.
She had also been making false claims under the name Artun for a child she admitted didn’t exist.
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Said, who had been in custody after breaching her bail conditions in January, was charged with 15 counts of false accounting to a range of benefit claims made in the name of Ayan Artan, plus further counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception relating to a false child benefit claim. She was also charged with fraudulently obtaining a tax credit relating to a child tax credit claim and obtaining leave to remain in the UK by deception.
She was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court.
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A spokesman for Islington Council said: “We will continue to crack down on fraudsters and make sure benefits go to those who most need them.
“This was benefit fraud on a large scale and Islington’s team worked closely with Camden Council on this prosecution.”
Lord Freud, minister for welfare reform, said: “Benefit thieves are costing the taxpayer almost �1billion per year. This money is intended to help those most in need, not line the pockets of criminals.
“We will continue to tackle this problem at the frontline but also at the root by reforming the benefits system to make it less open to abuse.”
More than �750,000 was paid out to benefit cheats by Islington Council in 12 months – estimated to be enough to fund a community hub for nearly 15 years.
From 2010 to 2011, �771,000 was paid in housing and council tax claims which were subsequently found to be fradulent.
The council is chasing 101 individuals for the money.
A spokesman for the council said: “Our enhanced security checks prevent many hundreds of thousands of pounds being paid out in fraudulent claims.
“Where cheats have already received benefits, we’ll push for appropriate sentences on top of recovering the money.”