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Benefits cheat had thousands in the bank 15.02.11

An IT expert has been ordered to carry out 100 hours of community service after falsely claiming benefits despite having thousands in the bank.

Toufeeq Ameer, 49, of Rectory Lane, Wallington, pleaded guilty to two charges of benefit fraud when he appeared before Sutton magistrates last week (Wednesday 10 February).

The court heard Ameer had falsely claimed more than £3,000 after failing to declare a redundancy payment of £13,000 and an insurance payout of a further £13,000.

Lindsay Sambrooks-Wright, prosecuting, said: "Quite simply he had several bank accounts that he failed to declare. His claims for Jobseekers Allowance and council tax benefit were false from the outset."

In defence, Michael Hyde, said his client was of previous good character but had struggled to find work since losing his job as a consultant at PC World.

"He did believe he was entitled to benefits but behaved in a wholly inappropriate way by not declaring his savings," he said.

As well as imposing the community service penalty, magistrates also ordered Ameer to pay costs of £100. The council is seeking repayment of all the money paid out.

Cllr John Drage, Sutton Council's Executive Member for Finance and Efficiency at Sutton Council said: "This is another example of someone who has been caught deliberately committing fraud by claiming benefits that they are not entitled to.

"We take all the necessary steps to ensure that people who deliberately seek to defraud the council are uncovered and brought before the courts. If someone is cheating on council tax benefits, that means higher bills for everyone else."

Sutton's investigations team has tracked down more than £400,000 in false claims in the past year.

If you think someone is claiming benefits they are not entitled to, please call the investigation team, in confidence, on 020 8770 5687 or via the website www.sutton.gov.uk/reportabenefitfraud

Last updated: Tuesday, 08 March 2011

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