A dad who claimed he had been kidnapped in Syria has been jailed over a £10,800 benefits scam.
Shameless Bashir Souliman claims he was snatched by rebels when he returned to his home town of Homs from Birmingham in 2014.
He said he planned to stay just four weeks in the war-ravaged country but was adbucted on January 30 and held until October 5.
According to the Birmingham Mail , ransom was paid for Souliman’s release but anti-fraud investigators had already been tipped off about his benefit claims, Birmingham Magistrates’ Court was told.
The father-of-two, formerly of Capstone Avenue, Hockley, admitted three offences and was jailed for 28 weeks.
David Devine, prosecuting on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions,said: Mr Souliman says he planned to go to Syria for four weeks but was kidnapped on January 30, 2014 and held captive until October 5.
He then flew back to the UK on October 8.
In the meantime the National Benefit Fraud Hotline had received a tip-off with regards to Mr Souliman.
He was investigated and interviewed and benefits fraud charges were brought against him.
Passing sentence, chairman of the bench Christine Speake told Souliman: This was a deliberate defrauding of the public purse for the sum of over £10,000.
We take fraud of this kind very seriously.
We see no alternative but to jail you.
Geraldine Toal, defending, said Souliman, who now lives in Durham, had been in Britain for 16 years.
He was made homeless when his home in Homs was bombed but his wife and children were in a refugee camp in Syria, the court heard.
Ms Toal said: He returned to Syria to see his wife and children.
His children had come over to the UK but couldn’t live without their mother so returned to the country.
There are many issues in Syria and opposing factions and threats have been made to his family.
He had been living in the UK for 16 years and had periods of work.
He had been sending money back to his family in Syria.
At this moment in time he isn’t claiming benefits but works in a pizza shop.
Souliman pleaded guilty to failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions of a change in circumstances in his Employment Support Allowance to the value of £3,417.08.
The charges relate to February 14 to October 8, 2014.
He also admitted fraudulently claiming housing benefits between February 17 and October 12, 2014, to the value of £3,922.92.
He further pleaded guilty to fraudulently claiming child tax credits bet-ween March 14 and October 8 to the value of £3,461.53.
Souliman will be supervised in the community for a year after his release from prison
News Source MirrorNews