Dec 20 2013

Halls Got Balls: Kicking Benefit Cheats Where It Hurts

susan_hall_leaderA man who falsely claimed £15,000 in benefits despite the fact that he lived in a house he owned in Coventry has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Sivasubramanian Srithar, 53, was claiming housing and council tax benefit at a house in Bye Way, Harrow between January 2004 and March 2011.

But checks in 2011 through a new data-matching system showed he was paying a mortgage on a property in Beake Avenue, Coventry.

It later emerged that he had bought the house in Coventry in 2007, using a £40,000 deposit from the sale of his parents’ home in Sri Lanka. His daughter and her family were living in the Harrow house. Mr Srithar was also claiming benefits from Coventry Council.

He admitted falsely claiming benefits when he appeared at Willesden Magistrates Court on December 17 and told the court that he had assumed Coventry Council would inform Harrow that he had moved there.

Magistrates sentenced him to 24 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months, with a curfew of 7pm- 7am for 12 weeks. He was ordered to pay £500 costs and a victim surcharge of £80.

He is also paying back the falsely claimed money, amounting to £15,198, through his benefits and Harrow Council is beginning the process of placing a charging order on his Coventry home, so if it is sold the Council will be able to recover the money owed through the proceeds.

The Council regained the Bye Way house and it is now home to a family who had been on our waiting list.

Harrow Council Leader Cllr Susan Hall said: “Once again we have caught up with someone who was trying to play the system and thought they could get away with it. In this case, as well as bringing a benefits cheat to court, we were able to free up a house for a family who genuinely needed it.”

She continued: “It could take a long time to fully get back what we are owed and it is the taxpayer who ultimately loses out here. We will continue to pursue anyone suspected of ripping off our residents and get back every penny we possibly can. This disgusting behaviour must not go unpunished – I am determined that these cheats are brought to justice.”

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  1. j p hobbs

    I believe they will always take the risk if all they get is a suspended sentence. .

  2. Susan Hall

    I agree we are up against it if proper robust sentencing is not dished out. However this must not allow us to do anything but enforce against this fraudulent behaviour to the best of our ability. I have funded the posts of two extra members of the fraud team because I think our residents need to feel assured that wherever we can we will stop fraud and bring fairness back into the equation. Those of us that work hard, pay our taxes expect others to do the same if they are able. Those that cheat the rest of us must be punished and stopped. Harsh words maybe but I will stand up for the silent majority, its about time someone did!

  3. Harrow Dude

    In all fairness Susie he has got away with it. He was never likely to get a custodial sentence he poses no real threat to society and a 7am-7pm curfew for 12 weeks is going to have no detrimental effect to him unless he’s working which is a possibility I suppose. He has to pay back the fraudulently claimed benefits form the benefits he still continues to receive, he must be laughing his socks off.. how long will that take? This man should have been made to undertake Community Payback 40hrs a week for the duration of his suspended sentence. Can you tell me why he wasn’t eligible for CP?

  4. Concerned Harrovian

    As Sivasubramanian Srithar has taken the borough to the cleaners,I suggest he be asked to clean the borough. Give him a scrubbing brush to clean the pavements,clean up the graffiti and a litter pick to pick up rubbish. It is very annoying that when these cheats are identified the law does not give them a punishment to fit the crime.

    If he is still claiming benefits, I expect his rate of repayment will be set so low he will still gain financially. It would be like a low interest loan.

    What a shame the system does not allow for him to be put in the stocks because then Harrovians could pelt him with rotten fruit and be entertained. He could be made to pay for the rotten fruit thus giving an income to a local fruit shop.

  5. Susan Hall

    Harrow Dude and Concerned Harrovian I understand your comments although I am not able to comment on sentencing, however much I may want to!

  6. j p hobbs

    Sorry you should be able to Susan you represent us , the people who pick up the bills . Happy Christmas to you and yours , lol john

  7. sonoo malkani

    Sick and tired of being let down by the Courts with wishy-washy sentencing —allowing criminals like Mr Srithar the opportunity to carry on doing what he pleases,
    regardless.Why are we afraid of making an example of people like him?

    Harrow Tax-payers cannot stand by much longer and allow this sort of “injustice” affects the law-abiding citizen and motivates criminals to keep up their bad works!!Concerned Harrovian makes points which most decent citizens empathise with.Why are we using this “softly softly approach towards somebody who has blatantly abused the system meant for genuine folk.?

    Good job Cllr Hall has taken a stand and stated openly what she feels.It IS what most Harrovians feel anyway!

  8. j p hobbs

    Great comments in todays paper Cllr Hall , keep it up and you could become Prime Minister everyone I speak to agrees with your comments even several of my Asian neighbours who were kicked out of Africa many years ago , You may even set UKIP back a tad . especially as Jeremy has disappeared .

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