Employee admits benefits fraud

A man has admitted to using a false National Insurance number to illegally claim £93,000 in benefits while working.

Michel Biza, 50, began claiming benefits legitimately when he was seriously ill.

However, when he recovered and started work, he gave his employers the fake NI number and continued to claim the benefits under the genuine number.

The fraud took place for nine years before it was uncovered by the Department of Work and Pensions investigators.

Biza pleaded guilty to two charges of defrauding Gloucester City Council of housing and council tax benefit between May 2008 and February 2012.

He also admitted two offences of defrauding the Department of Work and Pensions of Income Support and Employment Support allowance between April 2008 and April 2017.

Judge, Recorder Jeremy Wright, sentenced Biza to two years jail suspended for two years and placed him under home curfew for three months from 9pm-5am nightly.

He also ordered Biza to do £150 hours unpaid work and pay £340 costs.

Recorder Wright told Biza, “You continued acquiring benefits at a time when you knew perfectly well that you were not entitled to them.

“That went on for a long time. Every week over a number of years you could have said to the benefits office ‘I am now working so I am not entitled to these benefits.’ Every week, 52 times a year, you could have put things right and acted honestly but you did not.

“The result of your dishonesty is that you have received £93,000 which you were not entitled to and which the taxpayer has had to pay.

“People who deceive State agencies and the taxpayer out of money they are not entitled to have to understand that an immediate prison sentence is inevitable sooner or later. Is it inevitable in your case? Well, it very nearly is.

“In the circumstances that I have heard from your advocate I am not going to put you in prison straightaway.

“You are of otherwise good character, you have had serious problems involving your health which I accept contributed at least in part to this.”