£50,000 benefit cheat was ordered to repay just £17.70 a week

A benefit cheat who has been found guilty of profiting to the tune of £50,388, has been ordered to pay back £19,685

by The Commentator on 1 February 2013 22:27

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A benefits cheat said to have made £50,000 from crime has now been ordered to pay back almost £20,000 to the public purse by July.

Matloob Hussain Shah, 62, was last year locked up for four months after he had claimed he could barely stand, but was actually working long hours running two market stalls in Burnley and Accrington, according to the This is Lancashire website.

Burnley Crown Court had heard how Shah had been caught out after three months of surveillance by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), who filmed him at work.

During a five-year Disability Living Allowance scam, he had apparenty declared to authorities that he was breathless due to a heart condition and could only walk about 45 to 50 metres.

Surveillance tapes showed that Shah was working on market stalls unaided, and had therefore swindled the British taxpayer out of around £50,000. 

Despite this, the 'realisable' or realistic sum of money to be recouped by authorities was just £19,685, which Shah will have to return swiftly, given his previous record. Shah had admitted three counts of dishonestly, failing to promptly notify a change in circumstances, and had previously been jailed. He has now faced a proceeds of crime hearing after further investigations by the DWP.

In April 2012, Shah was found to have been overpaid £44,539, and had started to repay the debt at just £17.70 per week - an amount that would have taken, even at today's realisable sum, over 21 years to pay off.

Judge Jonathan Gibson had told Shah, "Offending of this kind, of course, is not a victimless crime as ordinary members of the public who work hard and pay their taxes, are rightly outraged when people claim benefits to which they are not entitled."

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