Police Serve £360,000 Confiscation Order

Woman guilty of 19 years of fraud

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Ealing Police and Council officials will be confiscating £360,000 of assets accumulated over 19 years by a woman found guilty of housing benefit fraud.

Matilda Akua Ampaw Gittens Kwapong was jailed on the 22nd July 2010 for offences of deception and false accounting following the discovery of housing benefit fraud she had carried out since 1990.

In 1990 Matilda was given a two bedroom council flat after pretending to be evicted from her own home which she bought in 1988. She then sub-let the two bedroom council flat and she used the funds to re-pay her mortgage. This was only discovered when one of her tenants made a claim for housing benefit in 2009.

She also claimed housing benefits and Council Tax discounts for some of the period despite the fact that she ran a successful hairdressing business in Shepherds Bush.

The fraud was investigated and prosecuted by London Borough of Ealing investigators. Following her guilty plea at Ealing Magistrates’ Court on 22nd July 2010 for offences of deception and false accounting, assistance was sought for a Confiscation Investigation to be carried out by the Ealing Borough Police Financial Investigation Unit.

The investigation identified the defendant’s assets of nearly £360k. Her benefit from the 19 year fraud was calculated on the open market of the tenancy (£140k), a further £91k obtained in rent from sub-letting, and the pecuniary advantage of £122k increase in market value of her house, into which she had invested the illegally obtained funds.

At Isleworth Crown Court on 15th October 2010 she was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, to pay compensation to Ealing Borough Council of £76,697, a confiscation order of £290,451, and the Council’s legal costs of £6,132. If she fails to pay within 12 months, she will face a further three years imprisonment and still owe the outstanding debt.

PS Geoff Donoghue of the Ealing Police Financial Investigation Unit said “We will work in partnership with the local Council and do our best to protect public funds by stripping the assets of anyone convicted of Housing and Benefit Fraud to ensure that their crime does not pay.”

The council operate a 24-hour fraud hotline, tel: 0800 328 6453 (free call) where information on benefit fraud can be left anonymously, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

October 18th 2010