A WOMAN illegally claimed over £39,000 in benefits despite being legal owner of a house worth more than £150,000.
Nehide Hussain, 40, was handed a suspended prison sentence over the deception which she carried out for eight years before the offending came to light.
Leeds Crown Court heard Hussain became the owner of a rental property on Mayville Terrace, Burley, Leeds, in July 2003.
The mother-of-three illegally claimed benefits between 2004 and 2012 after signing a declaration which stated that she had no assets. Hussain was arrested in 2012 and admitted that she had managed to obtain the property at a time when she was employed. She said she had applied for the mortgage on her parents’ behalf as they were on benefits and would not have been able to obtain one.
Hussain said her parents dealt with the repayments and upkeep of the property, which was rented out to others.
She said that during the time of the offending she lived in a small back-to-back property with her children and did not make any money from the property.
Simon Haring, prosecuting, said Hussain would not have been able to claim benefits had the Department of Work and Pensions been aware that she was the legal owner of a house. Hussain, of Chapel Lane, Headingley, pleaded guilty to five offences of benefit fraud.
Graham Parking, prosecuting, said Hussain had felt obliged to help her parents.
The court heard the property is to be sold in order to repay the money which was illegally claimed.
Hussain was given a six month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to do 150 hours’ unpaid work.
Recorder Gurdial Singh said: “These are scarce resources – particularly in times of austerity – designed for only the poorest in society.”