An Ealing student and a Hanwell man have been sent to prison for fraudulently claiming over £25,000 in benefits.

In separate cases the men continued to claim housing benefits after failing to notify Ealing Council of changes in their circumstances.
 

Taha Hussein, 33, was sentenced to eight weeks imprisonment for failing to tell Ealing Council he was a student and receiving student benefits as well as holding undeclared bank accounts.

As a result he was overpaid more than £11,000 in housing benefits from October 31, 2006 to July 6, 2008.

In a separate case, Saeid Eskandari, 37, was jailed for six weeks for claiming housing benefits that he knew he was not entitled to.

Returned post from the Hanwell address, where he no longer lived, sparked an investigation by the council’s fraud team which revealed he had dishonestly claimed more than £14,800 in benefits over 17 months from October 2010 to March 2012.

Both men pleaded guilty and were sentenced at Ealing Magistrates’ Court on Thursday July 17, 2014. The council is seeking to recover all money overpaid to both Mr Hussein and Mr Eskandari.

Councillor Yvonne Johnson, cabinet member for finance and performance, said: “During the course of these claims both defendants were informed of their duty to notify the council of any changes in their circumstances.

“Dishonestly failing to report changes in order to keep receiving benefit payments is a serious crime which takes money away from people who genuinely need it.”

Changes in circumstances which may impact housing benefits or council tax payments must be reported to the council immediately. Visit the  housing benefit and council tax support  page for information on how to notify the council of these changes.

Anyone with information about suspected benefit fraud should call the council’s 24-hour fraud hotline on 0800 328 6453, where they can provide information anonymously. Alternatively, people can report fraud by emailing fraudreferrals@ealing.gov.uk .