NAIROBI, Kenya, May 4 – A Kenyan woman has been fined Sh39.6 million by a Southwark Crown Court after she admitted to 13 counts of welfare benefits fraud and three charges relating to obtaining an additional national insurance number.
Gladys Popoola, 47, had been jailed for two years in March last year before being released after serving less than half of her term after admitting to the fraud.
According to the UK’s Daily Mail, Popoola made enough money from her fraudulent activities spanning six years to purchase three homes in London and one in Kenya.
She has now been directed to repay the money within six months with authorities saying it will be taken from her UK properties.
The mother of one is said to have been receiving full benefits from British taxpayers despite keeping three jobs and earning a rental income from her properties.
Popoola is alleged to have created a Sh65 million net worth from the UK government’s support yet her husband was also working.
David Jugnarain, prosecuting, said her fraud also included an application to the government for maternity pay, despite the fact that she was already receiving it.
“The value of the fraud in this case is just in excess of £200,000 (Sh26 million),” Jugnarain was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying.
The scam started in 2004 when she was allowed to live in Britain before being caught in 2011.
She began applying for the full range of welfare, including income support and housing and council tax benefits despite holding two jobs in housing groups and one at the Hammersmith and Fulham council.
“When she was caught in 2011, she worked three jobs – two in housing groups and one at the Hammersmith and Fulham council – but still claimed jobseeker’s allowance,” said the Daily Mail.
“In that time, she bought properties in Cricklewood, Forest Gate and Clapton – and even one in Kenya,” the article pointed out.
She however lost her council job when they realised she had reported for duty at another job despite being signed off as sick.
Popoola further duped the authorities into giving her two National Insurance numbers so that she could continue working and claiming benefits at the same time.
While one of the National Insurance numbers was in her real name, the other was in her maiden name in a bid to continue cheating the system.