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Car dealer convicted for benefit fraud scam

A Watford car trader has been convicted of stealing more than £23,000 in a benefit fraud scam lasting four years.

Anthony Oggunaike (43), who also worked as a church pastor, appeared before St Albans Crown Court for receiving £23,769 of housing and council tax benefit illegally between 2008 and December 2012.

The Kytes Drive resident was sentenced to 14 weeks custody - suspended for 12 months - was ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £250 in costs and a £80 victim surcharge.

An arrangement had already been made by Oggunaike to repay all of the overpayment back to Watford Borough Council.

At the court he was given credit for his early plea and for fully co-operating with the investigation.

An investigation by council officers found that between April 28, 2008, and December 10, 2012, Oggunaike failed to notify Watford Borough Council that he was receiving additional income, affecting his housing and council tax benefit.

Bank statements were obtained going back to 2008 showing a number of transactions with cash and payments to Auto Trader for advertising cars.

Auto Trader and Blue Cycle Salvage were contacted and it was found that Oggunaike had spent £67,870 on purchasing 84 vehicles between July 2007 and October 2009.

He had also failed to declare an extra £300 per month from his earnings as a church pastor.

Oggunaike was interviewed under caution on March 8, 2013, where he admitted to being a car trader and also that he had failed to declare his increase in income from the church.

He also admitted to starting a business with some friends producing soft drinks.

On August 11, 2014, Oggunaike appeared before the magistrates court where he pleaded guilty to the charge of benefit fraud and was referred to St Albans Crown Court for sentencing on September 4.(Source: Watford Observer)

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