A mother of two from north London who dishonestly pocketed a Â£228,000 benefits and mortgage fortune to help build a secret property empire has been jailed for 18 months.
Former nurse Kamila Lakhan, 59, of Tottenham, spent years using a string of aliases to con local authorities and work and pensions officials into thinking she was penniless and unwell.
Two Muslim sisters have won a multi-million pound settlement on the verge of an explosive tribunal which threatened to make public claims of widespread drug abuse and racial bigotry in the City.
London’s Southwark Crown Court heard that in the process she never once mentioned the homes she owned, the rent she received from her tenants and a Â£98,000 nest-egg concealed in an “elaborate, interconnected web of bank accounts”.
As a result she was given tens of thousands of pounds a year in housing benefit, council tax handouts and incapacity payments.
Her “many lies” also helped her get a Â£155,000 mortgage on yet another terraced development.
“The benefit obtained was used by her to dabble in the property market and down the years to … enrich and augment her portfolio,” said Mark Paltenghi, prosecuting.
It was, he told the court, a “complex, sophisticated and long-running fraud”, backed up by 15 bank accounts to help disguise “four years of dishonesty”. The barrister said that as investigators sought to unravel her extensive life of crime, they discovered she had even recruited her teenage son.
With her help Shan Marahaj, then 19, conned local council officials out of Â£2,820 housing benefit by claiming he rented one of her homes and inventing a fictitious landlady.
Lakhan, of St Loy’s Road, admitted 10 counts of furnishing false information to pocket more than Â£73,000 from Haringey, Enfield and Waltham Forest local authorities, as well as the Department of Work and Pensions, between March 17, 2003, and August 4, 2006. She also pleaded guilty to one count of obtaining a money transfer by deception in relation to the mortgage fraud.
Her son, who is now 24 and lives with her, admitted one of the false information offences. He was given a 60-hour community punishment order, ordered to pay Â£2,830 compensation and contribute Â£2,330 towards prosecution costs.