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2p difference caught out benefit cheat
A MATHS error of two pence spotted by an eagle-eyed benefits assessor caught out a benefits cheat from Wantage.
Abdalah Aminu, 35, was caught after making the 2p miscalculation while changing his wage slips, Vale of White Horse District Council said.
The mistake was spotted by a benefits assessor in September 2010. Aminu pleaded guilty to charges of fraud at Oxford Magistrates’ Court last week.
The five charges were for not telling authorities when he started a job, giving the wrong start date for his job, saying he didn’t own a house or land, and two charges of changing a wage slip.
The council said he claimed £1,382.02 in housing benefits and £264.11 in council tax benefits between July 17, 2009 and August 11, 2010, while living at St Mary’s, Wantage. He has since moved to Kestrel Crescent, Oxford.
Aminu – who has already paid the overpayment back – was given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £1,019 towards the costs of the prosecution at Oxford Magistrates’ Court.
The investigation into Aminu’s benefit claims began in July when council officers found he had given the wrong start date after beginning work as a guard.
The case was then passed to benefits assessors who discovered the bigger deception.
The assessor noticed the change made to his income on his bank statement was two pence less than the amount Aminu had put on his wage slip.
They then found Aminu owned a house in Telford, Shropshire. A summons was issued for Aminu to attend court in November 2011 but he did not show up, having gone on holiday to Ghana, in West Africa. A warrant was then issued for his arrest.
Aminu came back to Britain this year and was arrested in June and was held in custody overnight.
Matthew Barber, leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Although the amount involved in this case was relatively small, the attempted deception certainly wasn’t.
"If it hadn’t been for the attention to detail of one of our assessors then a much bigger sum of taxpayers’ money would’ve ended up in the hands of someone who was making a fraudulent claim.
“It’s very important that everyone claiming benefits is honest when they declare their income or capital. We simply will not tolerate anyone who tries to play the system to get more money than they are entitled to.”
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