|Driving Instructor Falsely Claimed Nearly 50,000 Benefits|
Had been fraudulently claiming for last four years
A Northolt man who claimed benefits while working as a driving instructor has been given a suspended sentence after fraudulently claiming almost £50,000 over three and a half years.
Haider Abbas, 32, of Whitton Avenue West was investigated by Ealing Council after an anonymous tip-off revealed he was working as an instructor at London Elite Driving School and had been falsely claiming housing and council tax benefit since March 2010.
Mr Abbas had taken almost 200 candidates for practical driving tests since 2009 while he claimed to be only working 16 hours a week as a secretary on the minimum wage.
He was sentenced on Friday, 29 August at Harrow Crown Court after admitting two offences of dishonestly making a false representation and one charge of dishonestly failing to notify of a change in circumstances.
Haider Abbas was given a six month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay costs of £3,651.64. He was also put under a curfew for six months and will have to do 150 hours of unpaid work.
He claimed £44,129.40 housing benefit, £4,104.94 council tax benefit and £456.49 council tax support, making a total overpayment of £48,690.83 which he will have to pay back to Ealing Council.
Councillor Yvonne Johnson, cabinet member for finance, performance and welfare, said: “This is a very serious case where nearly £50,000 was overpaid due to fraud. Despite being repeatedly warned to report a change in circumstances the defendant blatantly lied about working as a driving instructor. This is a sound result for the council, sending a clear message that we won't tolerate anyone who attempts to defraud council taxpayers of public funds that should be spent on services for the community.”
3rd September 2014