Former UEL student jailed for claiming £50,000 in benefits

A fraudster has been jailed for seven months for claiming over £50,000 in benefits from the council while he was a student.

Chukwuka Nwadei, 40, had been studying full-time on a Civil Engineering course at the University of East London while claiming Housing Benefit and Jobseeker’s Allowance.

He left the university, which has campuses in Stratford and Docklands, after nine months in May 2005 then enrolled on another full-time degree course in Computing at London Metropolitan University the following September.

But a probe from Newham Council investigators found a data match from the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) showing Nwadei was claiming a student loan which means he could not legally claim benefits.

The investigation found Nwadei had been overpaid £39,236.55 in Housing Benefits since 2001 and £12,576.14 in Jobseekers Allowance since 2003.

Nwadei, of Church Hill Road, Walthamstow, denied one charge of fraud and another of failing to report a change in circumstances at Inner London Crown Court where he was found guilty after the prosecution presented student ID and bank statements.

He was sentenced at Chichester Crown Court on June 21 to seven months in prison.

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Cllr Unmesh Desai, Newham Council’s executive member for crime and anti-social behaviour, said: “Benefit fraud is a serious crime - as this sentence reflects.

“We hope this sends a very clear signal to other would-be fraudsters.

“Newham Council has a zero-tolerance approach to fraud. It cannot - and will not - be tolerated.

“We have rigorous systems in place to detect his sort of practice.”