A high-flying management consultant, working for the NHS, who stole around £15,000 of benefits while being paid over £300 an hour has been jailed at Croydon Crown Court.
Zahid Ali, 47, lived an extravagant lifestyle, with perks including a £1 million gated Surrey mansion, luxury cars and properties in Dubai, while fraudulently claiming welfare payments.
Between 2004 and 2008, Ali concealed earnings of £212,000 in order to claim Jobseekers Allowance, council tax benefit, and housing benefit for two properties.
His activities included taking half-days off work in order to sign on, and absenting himself from claiming in person by pretending to be in hospital, despite working in Leicester at the time.
He was caught following an investigation by Sutton Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.
After pleading guilty to seven counts of benefit fraud, on Friday Ali was jailed for nine months and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs to the prosecution.
Judge Heather Baucher, sentencing, described Ali as ‘greedy, manipulative and cunning.’
“I doubt this would have come to light unless you were caught red-handed,” she said. “Your housing benefit claim was false from the outset, where you deliberately provided false tenancy agreements, false letters from an alleged landlord – which involved careful, thoughtful planning.”
Sutton councillor John Drage said he hoped Ali’s sentence would serve as a ‘harsh warning’ to other prospective benefit cheats.
“It is shocking that a man with a decent job who is able to enjoy luxuries like flashy cars and foreign holiday homes would try to take money from those that really need it,” he said.