Nelson cabbie in £11,000 benefits fraud gang

Burnley Magistrates Court
Burnley Magistrates Court
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A CABBIE who used another person’s identity to carry out a £11,000 benefits scam, was spared immediate jail.

Muhammad Khan’s claim was fraudulent from the start, premeditated and he refused to give the name of any other “conspirators” in the three year con. He was rumbled when a handwriting expert was called in and the defendant gave a sample of his writing, Pennine magistrates were told.

The defendant, of Hildrop Road, Nelson, admitted fraud by false representation between April, 2007 and July, 2010, by receiving the amounts stated on a Giro cheque in respect of another person.

Khan was given 12 weeks in custody, suspended for a year, with 300 hours unpaid work. He must pay £85 costs. He had no previous convictions.

Mr Majed Iqbal (defending) said there were clearly other people involved, but Khan was the only one who had been prosecuted.

The defendant was a taxi driver before being charged with the offence, but his badge had since been suspended. He had now gained work as a taxi operator.

Mr Iqbal said Khan was willing to pay back the money. The solicitor continued: “If he is given custody, it is highly likely his taxi badge will be revoked permanently. The defendant has spoken to a union representative for taxis and believes if he is not given custody, he will be given his badge back as well.

“My submission would be that Mr Khan is suitable for unpaid work. That would be the real punishment.It would also mean he is allowed to be employed and pay this money back.”

Bench chairman Anthony Green told the defendant: “It was intentional and it was a significant amount of taxpayers’ money.”