Court hears housing benefit assessors ran £1m false claims racket

Seven assessors working for London borough councils committed to Crown Court on fraud charges.

'Back pain' benefit fraudster caught playing golf

Housing benefit assessors from councils across London ran a fraud that made more than £1m from false claims submitted under false names over 10 years, a court heard.

The money was put into bank accounts set up with fake passports, it was alleged.

Seven assessors working for councils including Kingston, Lambeth and Barking & Dagenham appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court facing charges of fraud by abuse of position between 2006 to 2016.

Carley Loftus, prosecuting, told the court the charges related to housing benefit fraud and money laundering involving false claims using false identities – with benefits paid into other people’s accounts set up using false identities.

“The total housing benefit taken in this case exceeds £1m that was defrauded,” she said.

Magistrates sent the case to Southwark Crown Court for a preliminary hearing next month. No pleas were entered and the defendants were granted unconditional bail.

They are: Rehel Asfaha, 35, Jessica Bartley, 33, Menelik Cowan, 36, Natasha Francis, 37, Cassandra Johnson, 36, Hugh Junior Small, 38, Alexandra Williams, 38.

Asfaha, is charged with two counts of fraud by abuse of position totalling £82,331 while working at Lambeth Council and then Barking & Dagenham council where she allegedly obtained £182,907.

She also faces two charges of money laundering by putting some of sum into different bank accounts.

Francis is charged with fraud while working for Lambeth Council and possession of fake identification documents.

Johnson is alleged to have obtained around £180,000 while working for Lambeth Council.

She is also charged with of possession of identity documents and controlling criminal property namely £57,514 in housing benefit.

Bartley is accused of fraud by abuse of position worth around £71,600 while working for Lambeth Council.

She also faces a charge of money laundering £51,155 of the cash into a bank count on behalf of another, and another charge of possession of fake identity documents.

Cowan, from Enfield, is also charged with fraud by false position while working for Lambeth Council, with £298,469 the sum involved.

He also faces a charge of possession of identity documents and of laundering £150,759.92 of the money pocketed.

Small, faces a charge fraud by abuse of position while working for Kingston Council and is charged with possession of fake identity documents and controlling criminal property.

Williams is charged with fraud by abuse of position while working for Baking and Dagenham Council with £240,345 the sum involved.

He is also charged with possession of fake identity documents and controlling criminal property, namely the money from the frauds.

Also appearing at the same court today were Donna Francis, 56, Samuel Hammond, 39, Mgeini Khanye, 35, Kyeshia Stratchan, 27, and Derek Williams, 57,

All face charges of controlling the money from the frauds between June 2009 and October 2016.

The case continues.

Similar stories by tag

Comments