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Fast living, high earning NHS consultant jailed for benefit fraud 22.06.10

An NHS consultant earning over £300-an-hour has been jailed for nine months for committing benefit fraud.

Fast living, high earning NHS consultant jailed for benefit fraud

Despite making over £200,000 while also claiming benefits, owning a Mercedes, a Jeep, a number of properties in Dubai and living in a £1 million, seven-bedroom gated property in Kingswood, Surrey, Zahid Ali attempted to get away with claiming housing benefit for two properties of belonging to his wife.

Sutton Council's investigations team helped to successfully catch Ali, 47, formerly of Lind Road, Sutton, and bring him before the courts.

By keeping his wages a secret, the father-of-three managed to fraudulently claim around £15,000 from Sutton Council, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Branded by the judge as "deeply greedy, manipulative and cunning", Ali even took half days as leave from work to sign-on.

He also said that he was "in hospital" for a period and so couldn't come in to claim his Jobseekers' Allowance - when in fact he was away working in Leicester.

Cllr John Drage, Executive Member for Finance and Efficiency on Sutton Council, said: "It is shocking that a man with a decent job who is able to enjoy luxuries like flashy cars and foreign holiday homes would try to take money from those that really need it.

"I hope this sentence serves as a harsh warning – we will not tolerate people stealing from the taxpayers' purse - we will root out benefit cheats and bring them to justice."

The court heard he earned £325-an-hour working as a management consultant for hospitals, mostly in north London and Leicestershire.

Although he pleaded guilty to four charges of benefit fraud and repaid the amount in full prior to the court case, Judge Heather Baucher brought a harsh penalty because of the level of pre-meditated deceit involved in the crime.    

Judge Heather Baucher, said: "Benefit payments are for vulnerable people – not to support people who are deeply greedy, manipulative and cunning.

"You are obviously a man of substantial means and I am therefore going to sentence you to nine months in prison and you must pay costs of £3,000 to the prosecution."

She told Croydon Crown Court: "I doubt this would have come to light unless you were caught red handed. The investigations were both detailed and properly maintained throughout.

"Your housing benefit claim was false from the outset, where you deliberately provided false tenancy agreements, false letters from an alleged landlord; which involved careful thoughtful planning."

If you think someone is claiming benefits they are not entitled to, please call the Sutton Council's fraud investigation team, in confidence on 020 8770 5687. Alternatively call the National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 328 6340 or textphone on 0800 328 6341.

Last updated: Thursday, 08 July 2010

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