A MARKET trader who obtained thousands of pounds in state benefits claiming he could hardly walk or stand was secretly filmed working on his stall, a court heard.
Abdul Rahuf who also claimed other welfare benefits during his three year fraud, admitted when quizzed by DWP investigators that he had been acting “out of greed.”
Jailing him for six months Judge David Aubrey, QC, said, “You were living a lie and that lie had begun from the outset.”
He said that his later claims for job seekers allowance was also a lie as he was in fact working.
“Whatever the weather, you were on your market stall in Wigan and were observed there by officers from the department removing items of stock and opening the stall.
“This was blatant dishonesty in order to obtain allowances that you were not entitled to.
“You were stealing from the public purse and these offences are so serious only an immediate custodial sentence is justified.”
He pointed out that in mitigation it was claimed he had been in considerable debt to pay for his daughter’s wedding but he had admitted to the investigators that he had acted out of greed.
Rahuf, 62, of Kimberley Place, Ashton-in-Makerfield, pleaded guilty to five offences of obtaining benefits by deception between 2009 and 2012.
Derek Jones, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court that Rahuf began claiming disability living allowance in 2009 receiving a high mobility component as he claimed it took him a couple of minutes to walk 20m and he was unable to stand long enough to make a meal.
Later the same year he began claiming employment support allowance for 19 months and again for a further eight months in 2011.
The next year he obtained job seeker allowance for nine months.
The total amount he obtained was £28,368, said Mr Jones.
He started at the market in 1982 and had been renting that stall since July 2007.
He obtained the money by saying he was unable to work and was not working but investigators filmed him over a 10-week period at the end of 2012 working at his stall moving items from his car to the display and standing to serve customers.
“In fact they never saw him sit down despite saying he was not able to stand long enough to cook a meal,” said Mr Jones.
Kevin Liston, defending, said that Rahuf is married and has three children from a previous marriage.
“Because of his daughter’s wedding and cultural pressure put on him to fund it he took out a loan from a friend.”
As he was not making significant repayments to clear the £16,000 debt he re-commenced working at his stall in 2007 and was being paid £20 a day to run it, said Mr Liston.
He has health problems and has had heart surgery and needs a knee replacement, he added.
Roy Paul, Department for Work and Pensions Fraud Manager in the North West, said: “It is our duty to ensure that benefit payments go to those who really need them and we are committed to cracking down on those who play the system.
“Our welfare reforms are vital to close the gaps that cheats take advantage of.
“It is unfair that some people get support when they do not have a disability, while many people depend on the benefits system to provide a safety net.
“Deliberately not informing us of a change in your condition that may affect your claim is a crime.