Nargis Naseem Stole Over £35,000
A woman from Birmingham has been spared jail, even though she had admitted to falsely claiming housing benefit, because of the effect it may have on her children.
Nargis Naseem, 30, stole £37,000 of taxpayers’ money over a course of five years. Mark Jackson, prosecuting, described how the single mum had claimed housing benefit between August 2007 and March 2013 and was only caught when Birmingham City Council had started to investigate her.
Birmingham Crown Court heard how Naseem made dishonest housing benefit claims and then handed the cash over to her brother-in-law landlord of the house she lived in in St Saviours Road, Alum Rock.
She was given a suspended eight month prison sentence after the judge accepted that “her two very young children could be taken into care and would suffer emotional difficulties.” She was also put under 12 month supervision and told to attend a 30 day woman’s project.
Whilst being interviewed by investigators, the defendant claimed, “The uncle of her two children was not a blood relative, but admitted later that the fraudulent claims had been “dishonest from the outset after failing to declare that her brother-in-law was a relation on three separate occasions.”
Defending the defendant, Mr Qureshi, said, “This happened at a very traumatic time in her life.
“She was having difficulties in the relationship with her husband and was ostracised by her family. She was in a very difficult position and turned to her brother-in-law.
“It does not excuse the false declarations that she made and she is very remorseful and fearful of what might happen.
“She is a single mum with two children aged four and six.
“She is in receipt of benefits and cannot afford the rent and is now looking for somewhere else to live.”
Whilst Judge Simon Carr said, “The taxpayer has lost nearly £40,000 which the public purse can ill-afford to lose in these difficult financial times.
“There are two matters of mitigation. The first is that you have made admissions and the second is that you have two very young children who will lose their mother if I pass an immediate custodial sentence.
“The children will likely to be taken into care, which could lead to even further public expense and emotional difficulties for them.
“I do accept that your children mean everything to you.
“Nevertheless it does warrant a custodial sentence of eight months, which I am going to suspend for 12 months.”
Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, Ian Ward, added, “It is staggering that someone would attempt to defraud the public purse of so much money.
“This case shows that if you commit benefit fraud, we can and will catch you – and the consequences include a criminal record which means there is a long term impact on offenders.
“We will also seek to recover every penny anyone takes from the system that they were not legitimately entitled to.”