Council wins back cash from Wisbech benefit fraudsters
BENEFIT cheats have been ordered to pay back to Fenland District Council some of the tens of thousands of pounds they fraudulently obtained.
The council says it is satisfied with the outcome of their case taken under the 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act in pursuing a claim against the couple involved.
A council spokesman said: “The act permit local authorities to investigate someone’s criminal benefit and identify their assets. The court determines how much has been made through crime and how much is available to be paid back by the defendant, and then sets the amount.”
Artan and Jane Dida, formerly of Wisbech but now living at Williams Street, King’s Lynn, pleaded guilty in March to 24 offences between them of fraudulently claiming over �33,000 in Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and Income Support.
The council also established that Mr Dida had worked illegally under a false identity.
Cambridge Crown Court heard that Artan Dida received over �86,126.34 through working under a false identity and receiving benefits to which he was not entitled. His wife, Jane Dida received over �56,071.66 in state benefits that she was not entitled to.
The couple have now been ordered under the Proceeds of Crime Act to pay back �1,993.11 and �867.50 respectively. The council will receive �2,860.61 in compensation.
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The council spokesman said: “In making his decision the judge took into account their current financial status.
“By law, they are still liable to pay back all the money they made illegally – this is known as criminal benefit. Further the council can also apply to the court for further payments should it come to light that they hold or acquire other assets.”
The spokesman added: “These orders were made in addition to the previous sentences handed down on 17 March 2011 when each defendant was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years.
“In addition Artan Dida was ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work and his wife Jane Dida was told to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
“When we find that benefits have been fraudulently claimed from the public purse, we are committed to getting it back. Where appropriate we will use the strongest possible measures, including the Proceeds of Crime Act.”