Man admits falsely claiming more than £14,000 in housing and tax benefits

PUBLISHED: 10:29 25 February 2013 | UPDATED: 10:29 25 February 2013

A man who falsely claimed more than £14,000 in housing and council tax benefits for a Norwich property he was not living in has been given a four-week suspended jail sentence by a judge who said that stealing public money was a “serious matter”.

Syed Ali had been claiming housing benefit and council tax benefits on a property in Hobart Lane, but when council officials went to check they found another family living there, as Ali had moved out as he was wanting to evade prosecution for an offence he committed in 2007, Norwich Crown Court heard yesterday.

Yvonne Blake, prosecuting on behalf of Norwich City Council, said that Ali had falsely claimed £11,136 in housing benefit and £3,006 in council tax and was now paying some of the money back out of his benefits. Ali of Barrett Road, Lakenham, admitted failure to promptly notify about a change in circumstances.

Sentencing him, Recorder Louis Weston said: “Dishonestly stealing from the state is a serious matter as is taking benefits to which you are not entitled to. You have had over £14,000 of money that you simply were not entitled to and you took that money while trying to evade prosecution for an offence you committed in 2007. It is an appalling state of affairs.”

He also ordered Ali to have 12 months supervision.

John Morgans, for Ali, said that he had wanted to disassociate himself from the address. He said that Ali had gone abroad for some time and also stayed with relatives in Bradford. “He is under no illusion as to how serious it is.”

He said he was now repaying the money out of benefits.

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