Benefit Fraudster Placed Behind Bars

Two years for dual identity thief

A benefit fraudster faces two years behind bars after Ealing Council exposed him leading a double life and fraudulently claiming more than £27,000 in housing benefits.

Christopher Ogunbiyi, 36, of Faraday Road, Acton, made fraudulent housing benefit claims on two properties for more than three and a half years.

On Friday, 5 December, Ogunbiyi appeared before Isleworth Crown Court where he was sentenced to two years in prison. He had already pleaded guilty to five offences under the Social Security Administration Act (1992) at Acton Magistrates Court in October.

Ogunbiyi began claiming housing benefit for a flat in Horn Lane in 1995, with the rent being paid direct to his landlord. But he failed to tell the Council when he moved out in 2004 and let an illegal immigrant move into the flat. Meanwhile he changed his name by deed poll to Christopher Thomas and started claiming benefit on another property in Morland Gardens, Southall.

Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance, Councillor David Scott, said: “This man is an absolute disgrace. The housing benefits system is there to help people in real need and it is disgusting that a minority of people will lie and cheat to claim money they’re not entitled to.

“We are determined to investigate and catch benefit cheats as part of our drive to deliver value for money for our residents. I’m pleased the court has handed down this sentence and I hope it will act as a deterrent to others.

“We managed to catch this thief after we received an anonymous tip off on the benefit fraud hotline. I hope this positive result will encourage more people to report any suspicions.”

December 10, 2008