A conman imprisoned two years ago for a council and housing tax scam has been ordered to pay back hundreds of thousands of pounds to west London councils.
Zeyad El-Kaissi, from Comeragh Road in West Kensington , was jailed for seven years in June 2015 after illegally claiming housing and council tax and other benefits over a 12-year period by creating a false identity, Sam Casey.
Following a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing on February 23, El-Kaissi was hit with a £350,000 confiscation order and told to pay £175,000 compensation to Hammersmith and Fulham Council , Kensington and Chelsea Council and the Department for Work and Pensions. The remainder will be confiscated.
Through his dual identities, 40-year-old El-Kaissi claimed housing and council tax benefit, jobseekers’ allowance, employment and support allowance, incapacity benefit, disability living allowance, a disabled blue badge, public transport freedom pass and local authority housing.
The court case in 2015 was told Mr El-Kaissi had pretended to vacate his home, but remained living there as his rent-paying alter-ego.
His crimes were exposed following an investigation by Hammersmith and Fulham's fraud team.
A key element in their case was when Mr El-Kaissi made a benefit application to the neighbouring borough of Kensington and Chelsea and when compared to one submitted to Hammersmith and Fulham Council, the applications showed photos of the same person, but in one he was wearing a wig.
He was jailed for seven years, and after the conviction, Hammersmith and Fulham began Proceeds of Crime action against Mr El-Kaissi to try and retrieve the lost funds.
The confiscation order was welcomed by Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s head of housing Lisa Homan, who said: “This is a massive result for both us and our residents in recovering what was lost through this man’s deceitful actions.
“Mr El-Kaissi claimed every benefit going to pay rent as ‘Sam Casey’ to himself. He then used that money to pay the mortgage on a home he’d bought through our Right to Buy scheme.
“This result shows that we won’t tolerate people who abuse the system and will take whatever action is necessary to remedy the actions of criminals.”
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