17 February 2014

Absent resident jailed for benefits fraud

A woman who falsely claimed over £77,000 benefits from properties where she was not living was handed a prison sentence by Brighton Crown Court on Friday, 14 February.

Yekta Nakhosteen, also known as Yasmine Riaz, 46, of 52 Lanfranc Road, Worthing, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and advised she would serve six months.

Ms Nakhosteen, who also owned two properties in Worthing, claimed in excess of £70,000 in housing benefit and more than £7,500 in council tax benefit from Brighton & Hove City Council from two flats in Hove (First floor flat, 57 Highdown Road and Flat 2, 58 The Drive) where she was not resident. The council successfully proved she was not living in the properties when she was claiming the benefits.

In court it was revealed that she was receiving rental income from a property in Worthing and held a taxi drivers’ licence during the periods she was claiming.

Full costs were awarded against the defendant.

In his comments the judge, Paul Tain said that the claim was fraudulent from the outset and persisted over a significant period of time.

Last month Cindy Hensby, 37, of 51 Newick Road, Brighton, was successfully prosecuted by Brighton & Hove City Council and the Department for Work and Pensions after falsely claiming over £120,000 in benefits. She received a 12 months custodial sentence.