Wembley benefit cheat loses appeal against ‘crippling’ confiscation order

Judges throw out plea to reduce amount 40-year-old must pay back

A benefit cheat who fraudulently pocketed more than �78,000 has had an appeal against a ‘crippling’ confiscation order turned down.

Beatrice Muia, of Tudor Court South, Wembley, claimed income support, housing and council tax benefit, despite earning �15,000-a-year as a care assistant and support worker.

The 40-year-old was also living in a council house while secretly owning two properties.

She was handed a 12-month suspended sentence at Harrow Crown Court in December 2009, after being convicted of a number of offences related to benefit fraud and was later handed a �67,000 confiscation order.

Yesterday (Friday), lawyers acting on her behalf asked for mercy telling top judges at London’s Criminal Appeal Court that she is overwhelmed by debts and suffering from HIV.

They requested that Lord Justice Richards, Mr Justice Kenneth Parker and Mr Justice Lindblom to reduce the confiscation order on appeal.

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It was submitted that rental income from one a house she owned in Luton ought not to have been taken into account as “criminal income.”

But Mr Justice Parker, delivering the court’s judgement, refused to cut the confiscation order, saying that she would never have been in the position to rent out the house and rake in the profits had she not been dishonest.

He added: “She was funding her accommodation dishonestly, allowing her accommodation to be funded by the tax payer whilst earning a substantial figure in rental income.”