£870k fraudsters taken to the cleaners

A gang of benefit fraudsters has been sentenced at Manchester Crown Court for setting up fake companies and filing false invoices

Ringleaders Mohamed Goth, 66, and Feisal Aw-Isse Sadi, 43, set up two companies in a pub and a house in Manchester claiming to offer educational services. They then hired 21 women as cleaners to file fake housing benefits.

Goth and Sadi were directors of Iftiin Educational and Skills Centre Ltd, dissolved January 2015, and Hilaal Child Care, dissolved December 2014, according to Companies House.

The scam allowed Goth and Sadi to generate tax credit and benefit claims so their companies could scam the government out of £870,000.

Gang leaders, Goth and Sadi hired 21 women form the Manchester Somalian community as cleaners at the schools.

But instead of cleaning they would wait in a room at the school while their children were taught English, maths and science by young university graduates.

As a result of being employed, these women could switch from claiming job seekers allowance to working tax credits which entitled them to housing and council tax.

The women involved claimed more benefits than they were entitled to with some getting over £20,000.

The judge estimated that the UK taxpayer lost a further £1m following five court trials with lawyers and translators’ fees as well as court time.

Goth and Sadi were found guilty after a trial of conspiracy to defraud and have been jailed for eight and five years respectively. But they remain on the run after fleeing the country.

All 21 women involved were spared a jail sentence but they were ordered to carry out hours of community service.

They were found guilty of three offences: being knowingly concerned in fraudulent activity relating to their tax claims, dishonesty making a false representation in relation to their housing benefit claims and dishonesty producing false documents.

The fraud was uncovered by the Department of Work and Pensions after a random computer check.

Stephane Pendered, specialist prosecutor in the specialist fraud division at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: ‘They went to great lengths to cheat systems that are put in place to help people truly in need.

‘This entire operation was a sham and thanks to the hard work of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Manchester City council, who investigated this case, we have been able to prove that in court.’

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