An Asian family with roots in Sri Lanka who owned properties worth more than 1 million pounds and drove BMWs and Porsches have been jailed for fraudulently claiming 170,000 pounds in housing benefits.
The case was brought by Harrow and Brent councils and councillor Graham Henson said last night: "This was a cynical and premeditated scam by a family bent on living the high life while honest taxpayers footed the bill."
Four members of the family were jailed for their part in the fraud.
46-year-old Premkumar Pathmanathan got 14 months, his brother Sivakumar Pathmanathan, 43, got 15 months, Nalliah Kowridas, 43, received a 15-month sentence and Shamini Kowridas, 38, was jailed for six months. They fraudulently claimed 170,000 pounds in housing benefits.
Premkumar's wife Kalaivany Premkumar, 40 got a 12 month suspended sentence and was ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work.
Henson, of Harrow Council said: "We are very pleased with the court's decision and will now be taking steps to recover the money and return it to the public purse."
In these tough economic times it's essential housing benefit goes to those people in real need, and not to fraudsters driving Porsches and BMWs.
"I hope the verdict sends a message that if you claim money you are not entitled to, we will catch up with you."
Councillor Muhammed Butt of Brent council said: "This was a challenging case involving many months of diligent investigation work by my investigators unpicking a complicated web of deceit."