Mum and daughter from Leicester jailed over £56,500 benefits scam
A mother and daughter involved in a benefit fraud scam have both been jailed.
Dahiben and Nutan Patel claimed £40,000 of housing benefits they were not entitled to.
When questioned about her fraudulent activities, Dahiben Patel told investigators: "Well, everyone is doing it."
Leicester Crown Court was told Dahiben Patel had thousands of pounds of savings in secret accounts and purchased a £9,300 holiday home in Gujarat, India. The 62-year-old, of Kashmir Road, St Matthew's, Leicester, was jailed for nine months. She admitted 11 counts of benefit fraud in relation to housing and council tax benefit and income support, totalling £56,533. Her daughter, Nutan Patel (42), of Thorndale Road, Thurmaston, was also involved in jointly dishonestly obtaining £39,970 of that amount. She admitted five counts of benefit fraud and was jailed for six months.
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Sentencing, Recorder Stuart Sprawson told Dahiben Patel: "You minimised your involvement in a sophisticated enterprise. Your throwaway remark, that everyone was doing it, reflects your insincere attitude towards your offending and lack of remorse."
He said her daughter had "expressed more insight" and he accepted she behaved uncharacteristically.
Rhona Campbell, prosecuting, said Dahiben Patel originally made a legitimate claim for income support in 1988, which became illegal 10 years later. She amassed savings but did not declare her capital, which affected her eligibility for state benefits, from 1998.
She also falsely claimed to be a tenant at an address owned by her daughter and payments went into a joint account between them, in 2000 and 2011.
Miss Campbell said their "housing benefit scam" involved forged documents, including a bogus tenancy agreement.
At one stage, mother and daughter lived together in Bardolph Street, Belgrave, which Nutan Patel purchased in 2000. Payments were made on the basis they had no relationship with the landlord.
Miss Campbell said Dahiben Patel only revealed savings of £330 in a Barclays account when she had "significantly more".
She had fluctuating balances including a unit trust account from 1997 of between £2,000 and £3,700, a £6,700 mini cash ISA, a £1,000 investment account, a joint HSBC account with £5,300 and between £1,000 and £3,000 in another account.
Miss Campbell said: "She held those monies while claiming off the state on the basis she had nothing at all. She also acquired a holiday home in Gujarat whilst falsely claiming."
The defendants face having assets seized in a forthcoming proceeds of crime hearing.