Harold Wood couple raked in �150k in benefits - by making up TEN kids

A HAROLD WOOD couple fraudulently received nearly �150,000 in benefits after claiming for ten fictitious children.

Husband and wife Abiodun Ololeye, 50, and Olarewaju, 49, from Gubbins Lane, were sentenced on Monday at Southend Crown Court, after pleading guilty last month to acquiring criminal property.

Over the course of five years, the couple both made fraudulent applications as single parents of 13 children, where in reality they had just three.

Some of the children were invented, while others were falsely claimed as dependents.

They also claimed care costs for a child minder who lived more than 100 miles away in Lincolnshire – and who had never even heard of the pair.

As well as failing to disclose their full income, investigators also discovered that Abiodun Olaleye had made an additional tax claims under the alias Lateef Aremu.

The vast scam was eventually exposed by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers who noticed discrepancies in their tax credit claims.

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In sentencing the pair His Honour Judge Mitchell said: “This was a large scale benefit fraud and affects anyone who lawfully pays their taxes and correctly claims benefits”

He went on to say that Mr Olaleye’s part in the fraud was made worse by the fact that he had made another simultaneous fraudulent claim.

A confiscation timetable will be set by the court at a later date.

Bob Gaiger from HMRC said: “The vast majority of tax credit claimants are honest and claim only what they are entitled to, but this couple thought they could play the system. They claimed for 13 children when in fact they only have three and costs for childcare with a childminder in Spalding Lincolnshire who had never even heard of them.”

“Those who are tempted to commit this type of crime should think again as we will not hesitate to pursue them and bring them before the courts.”

Between 2003 and 2008, Mr Olaleye falsely claimed tax credits of �62,638.65 in his own name as well as �44,832.58 in the name of Lateef Aremu. He was sentenced to a 20 month custodial sentence.

Mrs Olaleye falsely claimed of �39,553.61, between 2004 and 2007.

She received a six month sentence suspended for 18 months, with 250 hours of unpaid work.

Anyone who has information about a tax credit fraud can call: 0800 59 5000.