A Bedford fraudster has been handed an 18-month prison sentence for stealing more than £43,000 in housing and council tax benefit.
Emanuella Khamis, formerly of St Michael’s Road, Bedford, appeared at Luton Crown Court yesterday,16 October, for sentencing.
She had been held on remand since May after being arrested when she visited Bedford Borough Council’s Customer Service Centre.
Khamis was found guilty of all 18 charges of dishonestly making false representations in order to obtain benefits. She had failed to declare
that she held savings of £75,000 in an undeclared bank account and also that this money had been transferred out of the country to an
account in Iraq.
The deception was uncovered by the council’s fraud investigations department when a member of the financial assessment team queried how
Khamis had managed to purchase her flat in St Michael’s Road while receiving benefits.
The investigation uncovered Khamis’ ISA which had never been declared and that she also received some money following the sale of a property
in Baghdad, monies used to purchase the St Michael’s Road property which was then subsequently sold. Khamis stated that the funds from
this sale were sent direct to her brother in Baghdad, which later transpired to be untrue.
In total, Khamis stole £36,777.83 in housing benefit and £6,358.025 in council tax benefit between November 2002 to April 2012.
After failing to attend three hearings – two at Luton Magistrates’ Court and one at Luton Crown Court – a warrant was issued for her
arrest. When she was apprehended in May at the council’s Customer Service Centre, Khamis was then remanded in custody until the trial.
Khamis pleaded not guilty and opted for a trial by jury which took place over three days in September. The jury found her guilty on all
18 counts and she was again remanded in custody until sentencing.
In sentencing Khamis, Recorder Cane, said: “The explanation given by you was clearly and rightly rejected by the jury. You have shown no
remorse and had no engagement with probation services and so will receive an 18-month custodial sentence.”
Councillor Shan Hunt, Executive Member for Revenue and Benefits, said: “This case is one of a clear and deliberate attempt to defraud the public
purse. Actions like this over a long time cost everyone. Benefits are there to help those in need and in this case have been abused by a