Guyanese couple jailed in Croyden for identity theft, fraud

A Guyanese couple was recently jailed in Croydon, England over fraudulently claiming about 100,000 pounds in benefits after stealing the identities of a brother and sister.

According to the Croydon Guardian, Kamini Sukram, who stole the identity of Savriti Naidoo, and her partner Indar Kumar Mohan, who went under the names Mark Anthony Singh and Regendra Naidoo, were both sentenced to eight months in prison at Croydon Crown Court in August.

The Croydon Council website reported that the couple, from Lakehall Road, Thornton Heath, pleaded guilty to charges of leave to remain by deception, obtaining a pecuniary advantage (earnings from employment) and between them, 12 counts of receiving property by deception.  

The fraud came to light when the real Savriti Naidoo, who lives in the United States, reported her suspicion that someone had stolen her identity. A joint investigation was set up between the UK Border Agency and Croydon Council’s fraud team which quickly identified that there were two imposters linked to the case.

The Croydon Guardian stated that fraud investigators established that a man and a woman were working using false identities and claiming housing and council tax benefit, child tax credit, working tax credit and child benefit they were not entitled to. The home of Sukram and Mohan, who were working full-time at the Mayday Hospital in Croydon, was searched in July and investigators found that they had saved some 20,000 pounds using their real names — Sukram and Mohan — in a bank account in Guyana.

It was found that Sukram and Mohan, who claimed to be brother and sister so that they could claim a string of benefits, were actually a couple with a child who was born in the UK shortly after they moved there. According to the Croydon Guardian, they refused to comment during separate interviews.

However, before arriving at the Croydon Police station the couple claimed that they had been using false identities which were given to them by a third party after they discovered the pregnancy. They said they went along with it because they were not sure of their rights and because they were naive.

They also said that after some time they wanted to put things right and declare to the authorities who they were but they were threatened with blackmail and so continued with the frauds.

According to the Croydon Council website, the full amount of overpayment relating to the case has not been established yet. However, the amount paid out in housing and council tax benefit is over 22,000 pounds and based on the length of time they had been claiming, the total amount of money thought to have been claimed from the public purse is expected to be close to 100,000 pounds.

After they would have served their prison sentences, the Home Office will consider deporting the couple, the report stated. The case was featured in the new series of UK Border Agency on Sky 1 on 28 September, 2009.

Commenting on the case, Councilor Sara Bashford, cabinet member for resources and customer services, said:  “We are determined to stamp out fraud, and I hope this case acts as a warning to others.”

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