Worthing fraudster sentenced to 12 month community order

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A WORTHING man has been sentenced to a 12 month community order after admitting benefit fraud.

Shahan Ali pleaded guilty to six matters of dishonestly making false statements to obtain housing and council tax benefit at Worthing Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Tuesday, December 13).

He was sentenced to a 12 month community order, on the condition he completes 200 hours unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay £971.25 prosecution costs, incurred by Worthing Borough Council.

The court heard Ali, of Meadway Court, Worthing, first claimed housing and council tax benefit in December, 2008, whilst living in Lyndhurst Road, Worthing.

His award was calculated upon low income received from self employment and £400 held in a bank account.

It was revised in June 2011 when he purchased and moved to Meadway Court.

His new claim declared the same low earnings and single bank account

Following an investigation by the corporate investigations section of the council, a number of additional bank accounts were identified.

Statements obtained for the undeclared accounts confirmed, at the time of the initial application submitted in November, 2008, his capital had been in excess of £19,000.

During the period of his claim for means tested benefits, funds in excess of £92,000 had been deposited into these additional accounts.

The investigation also established rental income was being received from a second property in Cardiff, purchased by Ali’s wife in 2006.

This meant Ali and his family would not have qualified for benefits.

As a result, he received £16,842.61 housing benefit and £2156.31 council tax benefit, to which he was not entitled.

A spokeswoman for Worthing Borough Council said it would be seeking to recover the overpaid benefit.

Sentencing, magistrates said Ali had been “within a whisker” of going to prison.