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Benefit fraudster had £100,000 in the bank

PUBLISHED: 15:44 08 April 2009 | UPDATED: 11:42 12 August 2010

A CABBIE who owned two properties, a BMW and a Mercedes and had around £100,000 in bank accounts claimed income support for more than five years. Last Friday, Croydon Crown Court heard that Muritala

A CABBIE who owned two properties, a BMW and a Mercedes and had around £100,000 in bank accounts claimed income support for more than five years.

Last Friday, Croydon Crown Court heard that Muritala Shonowo, 41, of Sturgess Field, Chislehurst, netted a total of £69,997 by making false declarations about his financial situation.

He admitted the allegations and was jailed for 18 months.

Prosecuting, Robin Griffiths said the money was overpaid from January 4, 2002, to April 19, 2007.

He was also getting benefit legitimately as a carer to his disabled son who is now 14.

Inquiries by the Department for Work and Pensions revealed that he had two cars, a BMW and a Mercedes, a house in Manchester and another in Orpington.

He was buying the houses on mortgages and renting out one of them, but they had since both been repossessed.

Several bank accounts were discovered, with £100,000 in them.

"He was enjoying a well-to-do standard of living," added Mr Griffiths.

He had so far paid back £391, but there will be a special hearing of the court on July 17 to decide how much to take off him under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Defending, Edmund Blackman said: "His son requires 24-hours a day care. He cannot speak and cannot sit up on his own. He cannot wash and feed himself. There are two other children, one of whom is autistic."

Judge David Ellis told Shonowo: "You obtained a substantial sum of money. This is a serious fraud on public funds. It is sometimes thought by people like you that you are defrauding some anonymous government department, but it is a fraud on every honest taxpayer, who has to make it up. That is what makes it a serious social offence.

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