In a startling case of benefit fraud, Ali Bana Mohamed, 42, has been mandated by Liverpool Crown Court to repay over £2 million. This directive comes with a warning from the Department for Work and Pensions: if Mohamed fails to comply within three months, he faces a nine-year prison sentence.
The fraud, uncovered in 2022, involved Mohamed masterfully orchestrating a scheme that defrauded taxpayers of approximately £1.7 million. Using the identities of nearly 200 children, Mohamed, along with his relatives and friends, submitted fraudulent claims under 70 different adult names to illegitimately obtain child benefits and tax credits.
The elaborate scam was eventually unraveled by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who noticed a pattern of repeated calls from just two phone numbers for what appeared to be unrelated claims. This discovery led to “Operation Paratrooper,” an investigation that exposed Mohamed and six accomplices for their fraudulent activities between April 2007 and July 2016.
Evidence of the fraud was found in Mohamed’s handwritten notebooks, detailing the scheme and concealed in his wardrobe. Mohamed, already serving a 16-year sentence for drugs and immigration offences, confessed to 29 related offences and received an additional three and a half years in prison in 2022.
The court’s recent confiscation hearing ordered Mohamed to repay £2,164,828.30. Alongside him, six co-conspirators were sentenced to over 13 years in prison for their roles in the fraud.
Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride commented on the case, emphasizing the government’s commitment to fairness in the welfare system and the need for sophisticated measures to counteract increasingly complex benefit fraud. Stride highlighted the significant achievement of the department’s anti-fraud squad, which saved taxpayers £1.1 billion last year through diligent efforts to combat such crimes.