Police investigate housing benefit scam

policeVarious reports point out that police are investigating claims that  Bangladeshis among other Asians and whites have been flying into Britain from Italy for the day and fraudulently indulging in claiming housing benefits worth millions of pounds. It is suspected that five organisations, including a charity, are providing fake job details to help the fraudsters, reports Asian Lite leading British Asian newsweekly.

The migrants are believed to have attended interviews at Jobcentres in London to get national insurance numbers that were then used on forged wage slips that were in turn used to make false claims for housing benefit.

The Sun reported that several people were expected to appear in court this week charged with conspiracy to defraud after a joint investigation by Scotland Yard, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Redbridge council in east London.

Asma Khanam, 46, of Newbury Park, east London, a trustee of Families for Survival UK, was among 13 arrested as part of the investigation and has already appeared before Redbridge magistrates.

The charity’s website says that it runs projects in Bangladesh and Kenya, as well as supporting elderly and disabled people in the UK

He police have searched the chairty’s offices in Ilford and documents and computers were seized. Two directors of other companies, including a recruitment firm, were also arrested.

According to the investigation report it is believed to have discovered that many of the claimants left the country hours after lodging their benefit claims.

The migrants obtained EU citizenship in Italy before flying to London and using one address in Stepney Green, east London, to carry out their scheme. Each claimant is thought to have received an average of £9,000, and other councils such as Newham and Tower Hamlets are investigating whether they have been defrauded.

Neighbours and locals complained that so many of the migrants used the small flat above an Italian restaurant on Mile End Road, which was used over a three-year period, at the centre of the alleged fraud that they had to spill out on to the street.

“It was mainly people of 20 years old and upwards to about 50, people from different backgrounds. There were Asians and whites.

An investigation was started after reports of a significant number of Bangladeshis with Italian passports arriving at Stansted airport with return flights booked for the same day.

A spokesman for the DWP said: “Our fraud investigators have powers to track benefit cheats around the world and bring them before the courts.

“We are determined to crack down on people who abuse the system, so that benefits only go to those who really need this help.

“In addition to any sentence imposed by the courts, fraudsters must pay back all the money they falsely obtained and face a criminal record for life.”