Couple jailed after claiming more than £100,000 in benefits while living in Lebanon

Couple jailed after claiming more than £100,000 in benefits while living in Lebanon

Couple jailed after claiming more than £100,000 in benefits while living in Lebanon

First published in News by

A husband and wife received benefits of more than £100,000 despite the fact they weren't even living in the country.

Lamis Naifeh and her husband Mahmoud had left their home in Bushey, and with their four children gone out to live in Lebanon.

St Albans crown court heard on Friday the family were out of the country between July 2007 and September 2008.

Then they returned home for just a month before going back to Lebanon where they stayed from October 2008 through to June 2011.

And all the time benefits were rolling in in the form of income support, carer's allowance, disability allowance, housing benefit, council tax benefit and tax credits

In all the amount of benefit fraudulently claimed amounted to £109,000.

The couple, of Cotswold Avenue, Bushey, were both in tears when they were jailed.

The 36 year old wife was jailed for 10 months while her 47 year old husband was jailed for seven months.

The court was told the couple are in the process of paying back the money but it will take years.

Recorder Andrew Mitchell QC was was told that after their arrest the couple claimed they had gone to the middle East so that their eldest daughter, who is disabled, could undergo a specialist operation and the money was used to pay for it.

The Recorder said he rejected that account saying although she had undergone some surgery out there, it hadn't taken place until 2010.

He said that when they had first made their claim for benefits while living in the Bushey, they had been legitimately entitled to them.

But he said they had failed to notify the Department of Work and Pensions when they left the UK.

The Recorder told the wife: "It appears you and your husband decided to go and live in Lebanon and continued to claim benefits without giving this a second thought."

The wife pleaded guilty to two offences of fraud and a third charge of being knowingly concerned in fraudulent activity undertaken with a view to obtaining payment of tax credits.

The husband admitted fraud and being knowingly concerned in fraudulent activity undertaken with a view to obtaining payment of tax credits.

For more crime news click here.

Comments (7)

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12:58pm Mon 14 Jul 14

Hornets number 12 fan says...

Good Job!
Good Job! Hornets number 12 fan
  • Score: 6

1:33pm Mon 14 Jul 14

Watfordengineer says...

I know that it is nice and simple for the benefits system to pay money straight into a bank account. but situations like this would be saved if someone with ID had to turn up in person monthly or on demand. maybe they could install airport style ID gates in shopping centres and when summoned someone on benefits has to walk through with their ID. No paperwork, just a check that they are both alive and in the country.
I know that it is nice and simple for the benefits system to pay money straight into a bank account. but situations like this would be saved if someone with ID had to turn up in person monthly or on demand. maybe they could install airport style ID gates in shopping centres and when summoned someone on benefits has to walk through with their ID. No paperwork, just a check that they are both alive and in the country. Watfordengineer
  • Score: 14

2:44pm Mon 14 Jul 14

LSC says...

It is people like this who have caused the genuine people in need of benefit so much recent trouble.
It is people like this who have caused the genuine people in need of benefit so much recent trouble. LSC
  • Score: 17

4:39pm Mon 14 Jul 14

oddjobman says...

I agree with Watfordengineer that checks should be made frequently. It isn't much to ask of people in receipt of benefits. The system is like a leaky sieve and, unfortunately, if you make it easy for abuse to take place it surely will. If it were me handing out the benefit money I'd be checking claimants' entitlement every month and using fingerprint or another foolproof method to make sure they are who they say they are.
As usual, I suspect this reported case is but the tip of a very large iceberg!
I agree with Watfordengineer that checks should be made frequently. It isn't much to ask of people in receipt of benefits. The system is like a leaky sieve and, unfortunately, if you make it easy for abuse to take place it surely will. If it were me handing out the benefit money I'd be checking claimants' entitlement every month and using fingerprint or another foolproof method to make sure they are who they say they are. As usual, I suspect this reported case is but the tip of a very large iceberg! oddjobman
  • Score: 3

4:42pm Mon 14 Jul 14

HornetJJ says...

£109,000 worth of benefits! What an absolute joke. It would take the average (working) person at least 4 years to earn that much.
£109,000 worth of benefits! What an absolute joke. It would take the average (working) person at least 4 years to earn that much. HornetJJ
  • Score: 9

6:41pm Mon 14 Jul 14

crazyfrog says...

I wonder how much tax they've paid into the system? Roll on UKIP with the Australian based points system on immigration!
I wonder how much tax they've paid into the system? Roll on UKIP with the Australian based points system on immigration! crazyfrog
  • Score: 13

1:37pm Wed 16 Jul 14

garston tony says...

The government would probably cite costs but considering how much is defrauded from the system there has to be a better way of doing things so that this sort of thing just cant happen.

My first thoughts before reading the comments was why dont the systems talk to each other, when someone leaves the country it surely isnt beyond technology for that to be flagged to the DWP/Benefits systems?

Maybe it cant be implemented today but when upgrading in the future this type of feature surely has to be a must
The government would probably cite costs but considering how much is defrauded from the system there has to be a better way of doing things so that this sort of thing just cant happen. My first thoughts before reading the comments was why dont the systems talk to each other, when someone leaves the country it surely isnt beyond technology for that to be flagged to the DWP/Benefits systems? Maybe it cant be implemented today but when upgrading in the future this type of feature surely has to be a must garston tony
  • Score: -1

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