A disgraced former Ealing councillor who swindled thousands of pounds in benefits has been spared jail after repaying the full amount.
Joginder Saroe, 63, reaped more than £45,000 in housing benefits and income support over a seven year period but was finally caught out in 2005 after an Ealing Gazette sting.
Saroe, of Beaconsfield Road, Southall, was found using running equipment at an exclusive gym while claiming disability benefits and further investigations revealed he was claiming council tax relief while renting out a number of flats.
The former Dormers Wells representative failed to inform the council he owned a property in Hengoed Mid Glamorgan which was earning him £250 per week in rent for four years and almost £10,000 a year from leasing the garage.
In May 2008, Saroe was convicted of dishonestly obtaining tens of thousands in benefits and a confiscation order for £120,000 was secured in September.
Isleworth Crown Court gave him six months to repay the money or face two years in prison and Ealing Council has now recovered the full compensation amount of £31,752.74.
Compensation of £13,280.53 was awarded to the Department of Work and Pensions and the remainder has been awarded to the Treasury.
Councillor David Scott, Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance, said: "It's disgraceful that anyone would try to cheat the system for their own gain, this money comes from the honest, hard-working taxpayer.
"It is even more shameful that a former councillor would go to such lows and I am pleased that he has had the sense to return the money that he was never entitled to in the first place.
"People have gone to prison for a lot less, Saroe has had a lucky escape."
Saroe was an Ealing councillor from May 2002 - May 2006 before standing as an Independent.
If you think someone is committing benefit fraud, call Ealing Council's free and confidential fraud hotline on 0800 328 6453 or email email@example.com