Devon

Benefit fraud accused spared prison term

A man has been spared a prison sentence after being found guilty of fraudulently claiming £35,000 in benefits for more than a decade.

Majid Hussain, 62, of Mincinglake Road in Exeter, was paid income support, housing and council tax benefits for 13 years claiming more than £35,000.

Hussain told Exeter Crown Court the money was for his children's education.

Paul Dunkels QC sentenced Hussain to nine months in jail, suspended for two years.

"The jury rejected that this money was held in trust for your children's education", Hussain was told.

"The (benefit) forms you filled in when making your claims made it perfectly clear that you had a duty to tell the authorities."

Hussain denied three counts of dishonestly claiming a total of more than £35,000 between 1997 and 2010.

The university graduate said his father left him money to educate his four children and he had a duty under Islamic law and his own culture to honour an oath to his late father to preserve the money.

After the bank account was discovered in 2010 Hussain's income support was stopped, but the state has continued to pay disability living allowance because he has Crohn's disease, kidney problems and muscle pain.

The judge made no order for costs, although confiscation proceedings are expected to be taken against Hussain.

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