|Join Nairaland / Login / Trending / Recent / New|
Stats: 1061608 members, 1232717 topics. Date: Tuesday, 21 May 2013 at 02:00 PM
130 Corpses Discovered In Deserted Plateau Villages / Special Adviser To President On Inter-governmental Affairs Showing Off Tattoo / Atiku's Political Adviser To Wole Soyinka - You Speak "like An Illiterate (1) (2) (3) (4)
|Nigerian Council Benefits Adviser, 37, Stole £130,000 From Needy Clients by frosbel(m): 11:27pm On Jun 16, 2012|
Olatunji Kazeem was employed as a customer service adviser at Slough Borough Council when he embarked on the forgery
Council benefits adviser, 37, stole £130,000 from needy clients by transferring their payments into his own account
Nigerian is now on the run after failing to show up for sentencing
Fraud took place between August 2008 and August 2010
He was caught when colleagues became suspicious
A trusted council employee exploited his position of responsibility to siphon more than £130,000 earmarked for benefits claimants into false accounts he had set up.
Olatunji Kazeem was employed as a customer service adviser at Slough Borough Council when he embarked on the forgery.
The 37-year-old Nigerian was bailed when his court case finished on Monday but is now on the run after failing to return to Reading Crown Court for sentencing today.
In his absence, Judge Angela Morris handed him a four and a half year jail term after hearing that he stole benefits and HMRC tax credits in excess of £130,000.
The court had been told that Kazeem 'harvested' local residents’ information from the council’s computer systems and then, armed with scores of personal account numbers, he contacted Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs department to say that individuals had changed their bank details.
Between August 2008 and August 2010, housing benefit and child tax credit money was redirected into accounts he had set up under a host of fake names.
He was eventually caught after colleagues became suspicious about the information he was viewing on his work computer.
Kazeem admitted a total of 37 counts of fraud and Judge Morris branded his offences a 'cynical manipulation' and a 'gross breach of trust’.
She added: 'What is so apparent is that those people whom he targeted were the very people who relied on those benefits to live.
'I am assuming that they were not leading lavish lifestyles but simply surviving.
'He (Kazeem) took advantage of the system and them for his own personal gain.
'I am told that in Child Tax Credit alone he took in excess of £130,000.'
Judge Morris had previously released Kazeem on bail after he entered guilty pleas at Reading Crown Court on Monday.
The 37-year-old Nigerian was bailed when his court case finished on Monday but is now on the run after failing to return to Reading Crown Court (above) for sentencing today.
He was due to return to the court this morning, but when neither he, nor his friend who was due to act as a character witness appeared and neither was contactable on the phone, Judge Morris proceeded to sentence without him.
David Burgess, defending, said that his client had lived in this country for over a decade and had married his wife, also a Nigerian woman, in 2004.
He said: 'The prosecution accepts that there were others involved. I can only offer that the idea may not have been his own to set this up.'
He said he did not know why the defendant had not showed up to be sentenced but simply added that 'courage may have failed him'.
A warrant was issued for the arrest of Kazeem, whose address was given as Europe Road, London.
Judge Morris sentenced Kazeem to four and a half years in jail on each count, to be served concurrently.
He was found to have overstayed his visa and the UK Border Agency can deport him at the end of his sentence.
Judge Morris added: 'I take the view that he has chosen to absent himself and cynically manipulate this court as well.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2159900/Council-benefits-advisor-37-stole-130-000-needy-clients-transferring-payments-account.html#ixzz1xzvevi9ierring-payments-account.html#ixzz1xzvYrJIO
Sections: politics (1) business autos (1) jobs (1) career education (1) romance computers phones travel sports fashion health