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Owner of three houses must repay £143,500 for 22-year benefit fraud

PUBLISHED: 12:26 20 November 2014 | UPDATED: 12:27 20 November 2014

She will appear later today

She will appear later today

PA Archive/Press Association Images

A woman who owns three houses has been ordered to pay back £143,500 after fraudulently claiming Jobseeker's Allowance, housing benefit and council

tax benefit over a span of 22 years.

Josephine Aidoo, 52, of Linthorpe Road, Stamford Hill, used a fake birth certificate to secure a tenancy while she was believed to own a property in Tottenham.

Aidoo was ordered to repay £143,500 on Friday October 31 at Snaresbrook Crown Court after being convicted of 11 fraud offences which took place between May 1988 and October 2010.

Aidoo was arrested in March 2012 on suspicion of benefit fraud after police secured a search warrant on her home.

The Met’s criminal finance team and Hackney Council investigated for 18 months before pressing charges for 21 offences in 2013.

These included benefit fraud, fraud by false representation relating to the three houses she owned and possession of false identification with intent.

She was sentenced on January 9 this year at Snaresbrook Crown Court to 39 months imprisonment.

Officers then applied for a confiscation hearing for her assets, which included three properties and cash.

During the confiscation proceedings the criminal benefit of £143,500 was granted. Compensation orders of over £95,000 were also granted to Hackney Council and the Department of Work and Pensions, with the remainder going to the Home Office.

Aidoo must pay back the money within six months, and failure to do so will add a further two-and-a-half years to her prison sentence, and she will still be liable to the terms of the confiscation order.

Det Con Charles Teggart of the Met’s criminal finance team said: “This should send a clear message that no matter how long it takes we will pursue you to recover assets made from criminal activity.”

Geoff Taylor, Hackney Council’s cabinet member for finance, said: “It is important to realise that people who defraud the council are really defrauding their fellow citizens.

“Hackney Council has a zero-tolerance approach to fraud, no matter how long it takes we will work with the police and other organisations to pursue the strongest appropriate sanctions against anyone who is found to have defrauded the council.

Housing benefit and council tax fraud can be reported to the DWP National Benefit Fraud helpline 0800 854 440.

Fraud involving tenancy, right to buy, Blue Badge parking, or procurement can be reported to the council on 0208 356 2505 or by emailing

michael.sheffield@hackney.gov.uk.

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