Benefits cheat from Luton overpaid £37k spared prison

Court news
Court news

A cheat from Luton who received nearly £40,000 in overpaid benefits after failing to declare his savings was spared jail after being convicted last month.

Tahir Qureshi, 49, of Beechwood Road, was convicted of benefit fraud at Luton Crown Court on Tuesday, June 23.

He was sentenced to four months imprisonment suspended for 12 months, six months curfew between 11pm and 5am, a £80 victim surcharge and £400 prosecution costs.

The court was told how Qureshi was overpaid £33,688.50 in income support between July 2004 and December 2011, as well as an overpayment of council tax benefit of £3,550.20 from November 2005 to November 2011.

Mr Qureshi failed to notify the Department of Work and Pensions and the council about a large sum of money held in savings that would have restricted his benefit entitlement.

This sum of money apparently ranged from £74,000 to just under £100,000.

A spokesman for the DWP said: “That’s something that had he told DWP or the council, he wouldn’t have been entitled to as much benefits as he received.

“As far as the DWP are concerned, the amount of money overpaid to Mr Qureshi will be received from him. Action will be taken to retrieve it one way or another.”

He added: “This was also a case where we had to arrest a man because he refused to attend any of our interviews.”