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Benefit cheat ordered to pay £90,000

  • Council and democracy

A businessman jailed for illegally claiming thousands of pounds in benefits has been ordered by the courts to pay out £90,000 in confiscation and compensation payments following a Proceeds of Crime investigation.

Mohsen Sabet, 51, of Laurel Way, Whetstone, was jailed for nine months in March 2015 after pleading guilty to claiming more than £35,000 in housing and council tax benefit.

He illegally claimed the benefits despite at the time owning a £2million property empire, two shops and at one point having more than £800,000 deposited in a string of bank accounts.

Almost a year on, confiscation proceedings at Wood Green Crown Court on 22 December brought by the council’s Corporate Anti-Fraud Team have led to the courts ordering him to pay almost £72,000 as well as a compensation order for more than £18,000 to cover the outstanding balance of his overpayment.

Local authorities carrying out Proceeds of Crime Investigations receive 37.5 per cent of any proceeds that are confiscated, with 12.5 per cent given to the courts for the administration costs and 50 per cent going directly to the Treasury.

Sabet has three months to pay the confiscation and compensation payments from the date of the order being made.

When he was jailed, the court heard how between 2004 and 2011 Sabet claimed benefits from Barnet, other London boroughs and the Department of Work and Pensions in a previous name.

Sabet changed his name from that of Mohsen Aboudarda by deed poll in 2004.

Between 2004 and 2011, the 51-year-old claimed more than £35,000, just over £6,500 of which was illegally claimed from Barnet Council, in his previous name of Aboudarda.

He did this while failing to declare that he owned, and was running, two luggage shops and that he owned several homes in the name of Sabet.

Sabet was found to be the owner of four properties, three of which he owned outright.

Investigators also established Sabet had 17 undeclared bank accounts which at one point contained in excess of £800,000. In interview he also admitted to having assets in Iran worth more than one million pounds.

Councillor Richard Cornelius, Council Leader, said: “This sends out the very clear message that even after being dealt with by the courts, investigators are able to carry out a proceeds of crime investigation.

“I hope this case also reminds anyone contemplating cheating the system that they will be caught and ultimately will be brought before the courts.”

To report a fraud call the fraud hotline 020 8359 2007 or report it online.

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