On 5 December 2017 at Guildford Crown Court, Mr Sarfraz Ali aged 41, of Eastcote Avenue, West Molesey was given a suspended sentence and ordered to carry out unpaid work following pleading guilty to an offence contrary to Section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006.
Mr Ali admitted to conspiring with his late father Mr Akal Ali to make a claim for Housing Benefit to Elmbridge Borough Council to pay fictitious rental charges. Sarfraz Ali instead used the Housing Benefit payments that his father claimed to pay his mortgage for his address at Eastcote Avenue.
Between November 2006 and January 2012, Sarfraz Ali’s father received £41,876.96 in benefits to which he was not entitled, and his son used this to fund his mortgage. Mr Ali did this by transferring the funds, paid direct to his father by Elmbridge Borough Council, to his wife’s bank account to make his mortgage payments.
On sentencing Mr Ali, the judge commented that Mr Ali had carried out a determined Fraud against Elmbridge Borough Council, it required some planning and determination. He sentenced Mr Ali to 20 months imprisonment, suspended for 2 years and 200 hours of unpaid work.
In addition to sentencing, Elmbridge Borough Council will be pursuing Sarfraz Ali under the Proceeds of Crime Act to recover the funds owing following this crime.
Councillor Roy Green, the Cabinet Member for Housing said “Whilst the overwhelming majority of Benefit claimants in Elmbridge are trustworthy and honest I hope this serves as reminder to the small minority that are not, that such fraud and dishonesty will not be tolerated. We must all work hard to make sure that public funds are allocated only to those who are genuinely entitled.”
The Council is keen to encourage members of the public to report suspected Fraud against the Council by contacting the Council’s confidential fraud hotline on 01372 474291.