Jailed benefits cheat (63) must repay £38,000

A benefits cheat who lied his way to almost £35,000 of taxpayers’ cash – and was sending tens of thousands of pounds to Pakistan – has been ordered to pay back almost £38,000.

Iftikhar Ahmad (63) had £42,263.44 available to pay the money back from a 50% share in a £105,000 property which will be sold, a proceeds of crime hearing at Burnley Crown Court heard.

Ahmad, who in July was locked up for 15 months for his dishonesty, has now been ordered to repay the public purse £37, 824.32 within six months – by June 10th – or face another 12 months behind bars in default.

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The court heard Ahmad had benefited by that sum and Judge Jonathan Gibson made the confiscation order, which includes £4,881.34 to be repaid to Burnley Borough Council.

The earlier sentencing hearing had been told how Ahmad kept quiet about his savings to get handouts and at one stage, he and his wife had £75,000 in various bank accounts and premium bonds.

He had carried out the scam for six years, between 2006 and 2012, getting income support and council tax benefits. Although he didn’t declare his savings to the authorities, he did tell them about the difficulties experienced by his children, hoping he would rake in even more money from the public purse.

The defendant, of Colne Road, Burnley, admitted three benefits fraud allegations.

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Jonathan Rogers (prosecuting for the Department for Work and Pensions) had told the hearing the defendant was paid almost £34, 918.44, he was not entitled to between October 2006 and November 2012.

James Heyworth (defending) had told the sentencing hearing: “There is hope in the future that the British taxpayer will have returned to them these monies which he was not entitled to receive.”

Passing sentence, Judge Graham Knowles, QC, had said Ahmad had “helped himself” to just short of £35,000. If he had told the truth about his savings, he would have received some benefits at the beginning, but it would have been a lesser amount. His savings then increased.

The judge told the defendant: “Far from telling the truth about that, you started to claim for another kind of benefit and you kept things on the boil for that six years.

“The more money that is wasted on liars like you, the less there is to spend on people who need and deserve the money.”