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Fraudsters jailed for £3.8m scam

A Hackney resident will spend seven years in jail after being found guilty of trying to claim £3.8 million falsely.

Adeola Thomas, 38, will serve seven years in jail and his partner Abimbola Abiola, 34, will serve two and half, after both being found guilty of attempting to claim a total of £3.8 million in a tax credits and benefits scam using stolen identities.

Thomas submitted hundreds of false claimm, supposedly from different people, for Social Fund payments to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and for tax credits to HMRC. The vast majority were rejected but £87,000 was paid out.

The fraud was discovered when HMRC noticed that a number of the tax credit claims came from the same address.

Simon de Kayne, HMRC assistant director of criminal investigation, confirmed Thomas and Abiola stole 'the identities of innocent people' in an attempt to claims funds 'they weren't entitled to'. He claims the money paid out  only represented a 'tiny proportion' of the total claim.

The total number of stolen identities reached 1,400 and the number of handwritten completed applications 2,495. When claims were successful, the fraudsters either withdrew the cash funds from the acquaintences' bank accounts or from a number of Post Office card accounts they had set up in false names.

Thomas  and Abiola were both arrested on October 7. On the day, Abiola had £4,125 cash in her handbag and claimed it was her child benefit payment. She has one child. It turns out she used most of her ill-gotten gains on electrical goods such as a 50-inch plasma tv while Thomas preferred designer clothes.

Both were sentenced on the 27 September at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

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