Harlesden benefit cheat who falsely posed as mother-of-12 to claim almost �200,000 is jailed

Brazilian 49-year-old started her audacious scam while living in Queen’s Park

A benefit cheat who lived a lavish lifestyle bankrolled by a six-figure sum she pocketed through a catalogue of false claims has been sent to jail.

Fabiola Peixe Dantas, of Cross Way, Harlesden, enjoyed luxury holidays in Egypt, Paris and Amsterdam and drove a top-of-the range Mercedes while claiming benefits for 12 children when in reality she only had one living with her.

Harrow Crown Court heard the 49-year-old Brazilian posed as a single parent with a low-income cleaning job to received �191,871 in housing and council tax benefit over 12 years.

She duped the authorities by supplying false tenancies and letters of employment to back her claims, while pocketing an additional income from renting out rooms in her four-bedroom property.

Dantas started her fiddle while living in Montrose Avenue, Queen’s Park, in 1999, keeping up the pretence when she moved to Harlesden.

Following an investigation by Brent Council’s anti-fraud team, Dantas was arrested in December 15 last year after the police and UK Border Agency raided her home.

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Such was the seriousness of her fraud that she was refused bail and was remanded in custody until her trial which took place last week.

Despite initially claiming her family had masterminded the scam she changed her plea and admitted 12 counts of fraud.

Sentencing her to 27 months in jail, Judge Arran said she ‘had a streak of dishonesty’ and ‘the whole operation was fraudulent from the beginning and was deliberately pursued out of greed’.

In relation to her claim that she was responsible for 12 children, he added: “You have four, only one of whom has ever lived in this country and who returned to Brazil some time ago”.

She faces being stripped off her assets at a confiscation hearing which take place in November

Cllr Ruth Moher, Brent Council lead member of corporate resources said: “I congratulate Brent Council anti-fraud team on bringing Ms Dantas to justice.

“She deliberately planned to defraud taxpayers of close on �200,000, depriving those in real need of support while living an extravagant lifestyle.

“Brent Council will not stop in its pursuit of benefit thieves so those claiming fraudulently should beware.”