Takeaway owner evades jail despite hitting Westminster Council for �110,000 with benefit scam

A benefit cheat who defrauded Westminster Council of more than �100,000 despite owning two properties and running a series of takeaway businesses has walked free from court.

Majeed Mohammed-Redah, 53 of Rodney Court, Maida Vale, was given a 15 month suspended sentence and ordered to pay back thousands of pounds of cash following a court case at the Old Bailey on Thursday June 28.

Mohammed-Redah was accused of receiving money from his wife’s claim for housing benefit.

Prosecutors argued that he knew the claim – which said she was a single mother with four children - to be false, as he was the owner of the property named as the claim address and lived there with his wife, Abeer Abood, 45.

A fraud charge levelled against Mrs Abood was dropped when her husband changed his plea to guilty after the council obtained handwriting analysis which showed he had filled out the benefit claims.

The court heard that Mohammed-Redah used a front company to hide from Westminster Council the fact that he was the owner of Rodney Court.

When the businessman fell out with the front company’s agent, he made arrangements to receive the housing benefit payments himself.

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In total over �110,000 was paid for Mrs Abood’s claim between 2004 and 2009 of which it was proven that Mohammed-Redah pocketed �64,000.

The fraud came to light when a routine visit by a council visiting officer revealed that Mohammed-Redah and his wife only used the claim address as their weekday London residence and returned to their other house in Hull most weekends and during school holidays.

Cllr Lindsey Hall, Westminster Council’s anti-fraud tsar, said: “Majeed Mohammed-Redah systematically and deliberately pocketed a huge sum of money in a fraud that lasted for five years.

“Only when confronted with handwriting analysis that confirmed his bogus applications did the defendant at last decide to tell the truth.

“As a property owner and businessman, Mohammed-Redah lived in comfort while siphoning off money meant for those in genuine need.

“Today’s sentence sends a strong signal to anyone who thinks they can play the benefits system for profit that they will be found out.”d