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Petts Wood £1million benefit cheat spent what she stole

Mahira Rustam Al-Azawi

Mahira Rustam Al-Azawi

Archant

An asylum seeker who cheated more than £1 million in benefits by using several different identities has been ordered to pay back just £190,000.

Unemployed Mahira Rustam Al-Azawi of Manor Way, Petts Wood, says she has spent the remainder of the money.

The Iraqi mother-of-one appeared at a confiscation hearing at Croydon Crown Court on Friday where Met officers attempted to claw back some of what she had swindled.

Defence lawyer Gillian Frost said: “The majority of the money cannot be retrieved.”

She was ordered to hand over £190,711.18 within six months which will be split between Bromley Council, Lambeth Council and the Department of Work and Pensions.

Bromley Council will receive £85,380.

The 49-year-old was found guilty at Croydon Crown Court in June 2010 of 13 offences of forgery, benefit fraud and theft over a period of nine years. She was sentenced to three years in jail.

It emerged she had used the money she falsely claimed to buy three houses, two of which she rented out.

She was caught after applying for a student loan for an engineering course at Greenwich University.

Al-Azawi also sent her son to private school which cost more than £4,000 per term.


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