Beckton benefit cheat spared jail after false house claim

A man has been ordered to pay back more than �29,000 after fraudulently claiming housing benefit for four years on a property he had vacated.

Raja Imran Khan, 33, of Eisenhower Drive, Beckton, pleaded guilty at Inner London Crown Court to two counts of using a false instrument and one count of failing to notify a change of circumstance.

He was sentenced to 12 months in jail, suspended for two years, and will have to do 200 hours unpaid work. He must also pay court costs of �3,000.

The court heard he continued to claim the benefits - totalling �29,100 - on the home in Viscount Drive, also in Beckton, until February 2011, despite leaving it in 2007.

The scam was uncovered by Newham Council’s benefits team after a routine check. Somebody else was found to be living at the address and the council was later told by Khan that he did not have a permanent address.

The subsequent investigation discovered his housing benefit claim was based on a false tenancy agreement and a false electricity bill used to infer that he was living at the claim address.

Newham Cllr Unmesh Desai, executive member for crime and antisocial behaviour, said: “Benefit fraud is not a victimless crime.

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“This is stealing from everyone including those who need support because of unemployment or ill health.

“These are tough times for everyone and we are determined to catch and convict those who think they can abuse the benefits system.”