Mum of 4 made false claims for £25K in benefits

Court news.
Court news.

A mother-of-four who cannot speak, read or write English, has appeared in court after making false claims for housing benefit.

Sufia Begum and her family received more than £25,000 in benefits she was not entitled to, Luton Crown Court heard on Tuesday.

But the judge was told there had been no dishonesty involved on her part.

Begum, 30, was directed to put her mark on the application forms for housing and council tax benefits by two close members of her family.

The forms were then sent to Bedford Borough Council which began paying her benefit.

Begum, now of Roff Avenue, Bedford, had at an earlier hearing pleaded not guilty to seven charges of dishonestly making false representations to claim benefit at Luton Crown Court.

She admitted seven lesser charges of obtaining the benefit without doing so dishonestly.

Begum also admitted obtaining benefit in which there had been a failure to declare her correct circumstances.

The court was told omissions in the application concerned the failure to declare that the landlord of the property where she and her husband lived was a relative, plus bank accounts.

In addition, the forms didn’t mention the fact her husband was a director of a company instead of an employee as stated on the forms.

The court heard the charges covered a period between May 2009 and July 2013 when she and her family were living in Honeyhill Road in Bedford.

But the court was told Begum hadn’t actually filled the forms in herself and had simply made her mark on the forms as directed by others.

She was given a 24 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay court costs of £200.

A Bedford Borough Council spokesman said: “Sufia Begum has been ordered by the court to pay court costs of £200 for falsely claiming housing benefit, and she also has to repay £28k to Bedford Borough Council.”

She added people should report suspected benefit, or tax, cheats to the council.