Ex-Afghan asylum seeker, 31, who pocketed almost £30,000 in benefits after claiming he had a bad back while holding down FOUR jobs is spared jail as a judge agrees to let him pay the money back over 11 years
- Rassul Kadir, 31, claimed he did not understand English or the benefits system
- The Afghan asylum seeker arrived in UK aged 16 in 2003 after fleeing Taliban
- Handed 30-week jail sentence suspended for 12 months at Preston Crown Court
Kadir (pictured) claimed that he did not understand the UK benefits system
A benefits scrounger who pocketed almost £30,000 in handouts while holding down four jobs has gone free after a judge agreed to let him pay the money back – over the next 11 years.
Rassul Kadir, 31, claimed incapacity benefit for his ‘bad back’ and said he was unfit for work – yet worked at a grocery firm, a cake-makers, a job agency and a vitamins company.
His scam went on for four years after he was quizzed following a tip-off.
He claimed he did not realise he had done anything wrong as did not understand English or the UK benefits system.
At Preston Crown Court, Kadir, from Blackpool, admitted two charges of fraudulently failing to disclose information about his work to the DWP and one of making a false statement to claim Council Tax Benefit.
He was given a 30-week jail sentence suspended for 12 months after Judge Beverley Lunt said he could pay back the remaining money at £175 a month. It means the sum may not be fully paid back until May 2030.
He has already paid back £3,000 after opening his own car wash. Former Afghan asylum seeker Kadir had arrived in the UK with his father when he was 16 in 2003 after they fled the Taliban and moved to Preston before settling in Blackpool.
Prosecuting, Fiona McNeill, said: ‘The defendant claimed £28,979 in benefits over the course of four years. He was in receipt of income benefit between April 6, 2008, and May 1 2012. He said he was sick as and unable to work due to a back complaint.
‘During this time, he held down a number of jobs. At first, he was working on a temporary basis with a company through the Best Connections group. He was a temporary worker, working on a transient basis, not a permanent one.
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‘Between August 2009 and May 2012, he worked for the Palmer and Harvey wholesale grocers, a cake maker at Lathams and he was packing vitamins at the Nutrition Group.
‘He was arrested following an investigation by the Department for Work and Pensions. In interview with the police, he was at first reluctant to accept his failings, but once it had been explained to him he did accept that he was at fault. He was interviewed twice – once in February 2017 and and again in March 2017.
‘He stopped claiming benefits around October 2013 after declaring himself self-employed.’
Kadir (pictured) held down a number of jobs while he was claiming benefits after fleeing the Taliban in Afghanistan
In interview Kadir at first denied doing any paid work but when confronted with evidence admitted what he had done claiming he did not understand the claims system or understand English.
Judge Beverley Lunt told him: ‘I am going to pass a suspended sentence for this.If he is actually earning money now and paying it back, then that’s better than paying back through benefits.
‘I think a sentence of 30 weeks custody suspended for 12 months would be appropriate. I also take into account the previous good character and the fact that he stopped claiming benefits.
‘What you did, Mr Kadir, was very wrong, you obtained money that you were not entitled to. But you stopped this a while ago and have now set up your own business and are paying back into the system.
‘It must be a prison sentence so people realise how serious benefit fraud is, but I am going to suspend that sentence. I am also making a compensation order for you to pay back £25,000 at £175 a month. You must keep out of trouble, Mr Kadir, or you will be back before the court and likely go to prison.’
The judge declined to hear mitigation but at an earlier hearing Kadir’s lawyer Gerry Coyle said his client had fled Afghanistan with his father because of the Taliban regime.
Mr Coyle added: ‘He was 16 at the time and very inexperienced when it came to living in the UK. He now realises he did the wrong thing and found himself in a lot of lumber.
‘He has since turned his life round and has a car wash business which employs six people. He has started to repay the money he had on a monthly basis.’
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