Woman jailed for benefit fraud in Sutton

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A WOMAN who made fraudulent housing benefit and council tax benefit whilst living in Sutton under a stolen identity has been jailed for three years and members of her family fined, following a joint investigation by Ashfield District Council and the Department of Work and Pensions.

Ms Sookie Jairam, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, claimed for housing benefit and council tax benefit while she was living at 202 Alfreton Road using a stolen identity of a British National.

Jairam claimed housing benefit and council tax benefit at the property in 2008 and Nottingham Crown Court was told that as well as her claims in the Ashfield area, Ms Jairam also claimed benefits as far back as 1998 in various parts of the country under the stolen identity.

Sookie Jairam is a native of Trinidad and Tobago and entered the UK on 26th October 1991 where she sought Leave to Enter the United Kingdom for one month. This was not granted and removal directions were set for Ms Jairam shortly after.

Ms Jairam failed to report to immigration officials and subsequently was reported missing on 4th November 1991. Based upon this, Sookie Jairam had no recourse to public funds.

As part of Operation Keavy – a joint investigation by Ashfield District Council and the Department of Work and Pensions – it was discovered that Ms. Jairam was using a false identity.

Sookie Jairam was arrested on 31st May last year along with her landlord Kishna Sooriah and her daughter Indira Jairam (otherwise known a Indira Kamal).

A benefit decision was made by Ashfield District Council and it was determined that Sookie Jairam’s housing benefit and council tax Benefit claim was fraudulent.

This had lead to an overpayment of £22,301.89 in Ashfield District Council Benefits.

When added to the total amount of income support, disability living allowance, pension credits, housing and council tax benefits as well as her own personal income from salary and a critical illness insurance payout in the name of stolen identity, the financial loss to this fraud since 1998 was £280,489.73 as calculated by the Department of Work and Pensions.

Charges for all three defendants were laid by the Crown Prosecution Service and dealt with at Nottingham Crown Court.

Sookie Jairam pleaded guilty to 19 counts of fraud on 11th January this year and was sentenced on 18th April along with the other two defendants who also pleaded guilty on various charges associated with Ms Jairam’s identity fraud.

Indira Jairam, was fined £7,500.00 and ordered to pay Lincoln City Council £6,843.00 and pay the insurance company £46,574.12 along with £750 costs as the critical illness insurance was paid into her bank account and not Ms Jairam’s.

Kishna Sooriah was fined £10,000.00 and ordered to pay £1000 costs.