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List of 300 MPs who are claiming rent payments on expenses

List of 300 MPs who are claiming rent payments on expenses | Race & Crime UK | Scoop.it

Landlord list reveals names in new MPs' expenses row.

Channel 4's Dispatches receives a list of landlords renting to around 300 MPs who are claiming rent payments on expenses, as Equalities Minister Helen Grant is forced to defend her arrangement.

The new investigation into MPs' expenses comes more than two years after new rules came in, banning MPs claiming expenses for mortgages but still allowing them to claim for rent.

Taxpayers are still contributing around £89m on MPs expenses compared with the £90m before the last expenses scandal broke. There are now more than 300 MPs claiming rent, costing the taxpayer more than a £1m a year.

List published
On Monday, Dispatches received a list of landlords renting to around 300 MPs who are claiming this on expenses. It is is the first time this list has been published and follows a battle with the parliamentary authorities following a Freedom of Information request was initially stalled by an intervention from Commons' Speaker John Bercow.

Dispatches reporter Antony Barnett told Channel 4 News: "We wanted to know who MPs are renting from, we knew there were more than 300 claiming rent expenses but didn't have any details.

"Their expense claims fall within the rules but our programme asks whether they're in the spirit too."

 

See the full list of MPs and their rental arrangement here : http://www.channel4.com/microsites/D/Dispatches/FOI2012-A067a-2012-11-19-AnnexA.pdf


Equalities Minister Helen Grant has been forced to defend claiming the maximum expenses for a second home in London despite living just 19 miles from the Commons.

Mrs Grant, appointed to the Ministry of Justice in September's reshuffle, lives in a £1.8m home in Reigate, Surrey - outside her Maidstone constituency. She also rents a Thameside flat near the MI6 building in Vauxhall which is funded on expenses.

Channel 4's Dispatches will reveal:
* Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude is still claiming thousands of pounds on a second home in central London despite the prime minister's personal pledge Maude would not "claim any money" on his second home.
* Equalities Minister Helen Grant is claiming £20,000 a year for a luxury London flat despite owning a £1.8m home in Surrey just 19 miles away from Westminster.
* Treasury Minister David Gauke recently sold his second home in central London which the taxpayer helped buy and has kept a profit of more than £20,000.
* John Whittingdale, chairman of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee has moved out of second home which the taxpayer helped fund and is renting it out for £400 a week. He is now claiming expenses for renting out a property nearby.
Mrs Grant is eligible for a second home allowance because her constituency is outside London. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) confirmed the MP's claim was within the rules.

A spokeswoman for the MP said: "Mrs Grant's constituency has been deemed by IPSA to be a non-London constituency and she is therefore fully entitled to use her rental accommodation allowance either in London or in the constituency. She has a base in her constituency at her mother's property, where her son also lives, so she sees no need to rent a further property there. The focus of her time and responsibility has always been Maidstone and the Weald."

 

'Spirit of the rules'
But Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said the MP appeared to have breached the spirit of the rules.

"The taxpayer-funded allowance for a second home is meant to be there for MPs living in a constituency home from which they cannot reasonably commute to Westminster on a daily basis," he said.

"Most people would expect that by choosing to remain living in her Surrey home - which is a commutable distance from London - Mrs Grant would have made herself ineligible to make these claims.

"This is a loophole in the rules which ought to be closed."

Watch tonight at 8pm on Channel 4's Dispatches - MPs: Are they still at it?

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Indian origin solicitor accused of UK tax fraud

Indian origin solicitor accused of UK tax fraud | Race & Crime UK | Scoop.it

A London-based solicitor of Indian-origin, who was made a Queen's Counsel in March 2011, is facing criminal charges for failing to pay 600,000 pounds in VAT, the Crown Prosecution Service today said.

 

Rohan Anthony Pershad, QC, is to be prosecuted for not paying Value Added Tax between June 1999 and September 2011.

It is alleged he knowingly failed to declare VAT payments for which he charged on services he provided while working as a barrister.

Queen's Counsel is a status conferred by the Crown. Members have the privilege of sitting within the Bar of court.

 

Read more:

http://w11.zetaboards.com/TheBNF/topic/7994178/1/

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Illegal immigrant benefits fraudster keeps Chelsea flat

Illegal immigrant benefits fraudster keeps Chelsea flat | Race & Crime UK | Scoop.it

AN illegal immigrant who fiddled more than £30,000 in benefits cannot be kicked out of the country — because of human rights laws.
And amazingly, a series of rulings means single mother Joy Chishimba can not only STAY in her council flat in London’s fashionable Chelsea but  CONTINUE claiming benefits.

Chishimba, 26, entered Britain from Zambia on a student visa. In 2009 she fell pregnant, bought a fake UK passport for £1,000 and used it to get the flat and handouts. When she was eventually rumbled she admitted fraudulently claiming £30,000 in housing benefit and £4,000 in income support.

She was given a suspended ten-month jail sentence.

But her lawyers claimed separating her from her UK-born daughter would breach article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1988 that guarantees the right to a family life.

So a judge let her remain in the UK until at least 2014 — and as a result she can now claim benefits legally.

Kensington and Chelsea Council, which has 8,000 people on its homes waiting list, tried to evict her, saying she made herself “intentionally homeless” by committing the fraud.

But she complained she would be left wandering the streets and won a review.

Chishimba claims she only turned to crime out of desperation when her ex-boyfriend kicked her out. She said: “I just didn’t wake up one day and decide to do this. I had to protect my daughter.”

The UK Border Agency said there would be new legislation by the summer and added: “Public interest in removal should outweigh the migrant’s right to family life.”

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Illegal immigrants in voting scam

Illegal immigrants in voting scam | Race & Crime UK | Scoop.it
UK News :: Illegal immigrants in voting scam - Breaking news from around the UK...

FEARS of widespread vote rigging in today’s elections were raised after an MP discovered one in five migrants with no right to be here was on the electoral register.
Nick de Bois cross-checked the names of constituents seeking his help to stay in the UK and found 21 out of a sample 100 had signed up for voting rights.
The Tory backbencher is calling on ministers to tighten registration rules, claiming it is harder to get a library card than a ballot paper.
Police have already identified a black market for selling voting papers online, while postal ballots are also open to abuse.
Mr de Bois, member for Enfield North in London, said yesterday: “Maintaining the integrity of the voting register is crucial. In local elections particularly, when the difference between winning and losing for a candidate can be a handful of votes, it’s shocking that people who have no right to vote do vote.”
The MP said some people get on the electoral roll just to obtain credit cards or commit financial fraud.

In Enfield, anyone applying for a library card needs to show two forms of identity and address including a utility bill. Yet people registering to vote only have to fill in and return a form posted through their doors.
Mr de Bois wants the Government to “clean up” the register before the next elections. On Monday police began probing alleged voter registration fraud in Tower Hamlets, east London, which has a huge Bangladeshi community.
One-in-seven of the postal votes cast in a recent by-election in the borough was rejected because of irregularities. Last night a Cabinet Office spokesman said: “We are strengthening the electoral system. By December 2015 every individual’s entry on the register will have to be verified with information such as their National Insurance number.”

About 180 councils are holding elections today. The Tories are braced for setbacks after a plunge in ­their popularity, although Ed Miliband’s leadership of Labour will come under fresh pressure if his party fails to ­capitalise.
One Tory source said: “It is likely to be a very difficult night for us. Many of the seats that are up for grabs were won during an all-time high for us and will be difficult to hold. But Labour will be under pressure. Anything less than 700 new seats will be a disaster for them.”
Bookies Paddy Power stopped taking bets on Tory Boris Johnson staying as London Mayor after ­opinion polls put his lead over Ken Livingstone at up to 12 per cent.

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Four Leicestershire people in court for alleged driving test fraud

Four Leicestershire people in court for alleged driving test fraud | Race & Crime UK | Scoop.it
Four people from Leicestershire have appeared in court in connection with an alleged conspiracy to corruptly obtain driving licences.The defendants were among 15 people, aged between 25 and 54, ...
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Yard called in over 'serious voting fraud' in London Mayor election

Yard called in over 'serious voting fraud' in London Mayor election | Race & Crime UK | Scoop.it
Scotland Yard was today asked by the elections watchdog to investigate “unprecedented” evidence of voter fraud ahead of next week’s polling for London Mayor.
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Cunts with Parliamentary Privilege

Cunts with Parliamentary Privilege | Race & Crime UK | Scoop.it

and there was me thinking, and being taught, that we all come under one law .......

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Father and daughter plead guilty to legal fraud scam

Father and daughter plead guilty to legal fraud scam | Race & Crime UK | Scoop.it

A FATHER and daughter from Brierfield, who ran a £250,000 legal fraud scam, have pleaded guilty at court.
Mohammed Arshid Khatana, 51 and his daughter Mahria Khatana, 24, both of Hawkswood Gardens, Brierfield, Nelson, appeared at Preston Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday 25 July). Mohammed Khatana pleaded guilty to 15 counts of fraud. Mahria Khatana pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud.
They were arrested after a three year investigation by the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit and the Legal Services Commission, during which it was discovered they had committed a large number of legal service frauds amounting to in excess of £250,000.
Enquiries into the Khatana’s two companies - POCA Consulting Ltd and Ultima Consulting - revealed that despite having no legal qualification or accreditation, they would offer legal representation to clients in proceeds of crime and other criminal matters. Mohammed Khatana would visit with the client and arrange to transfer their legal aid to a solicitors firm and would charge up to £500 for the referral.
They were also found guilty of defrauding a 74-year-old man, who was facing confiscation proceedings for money laundering. Mahria Khatana obtained quotes for legal representation from a barristers firm in London. She then doubled the quotes and sent a £43,000 bill to the man – a fee which should have cost less than £10,000.
Mohammed Khatana was found guilty of attempting to enter into a money laundering arrangement following a seven day trial in April. This came after an undercover officer posed as the girlfriend of a drug dealer and met with Khatana where he gave her advice on how to launder drugs money.
Detective Superintendent Jason Hudson from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit said: “Khatana was a ruthless serial fraudster who was prepared to use his daughter to steal from a wide range of individuals for his own gain. We worked closely with the Legal Services Commission in identifying and stopping Khatana's abuse of the legal aid system."
Chief Executive of the Legal Services Commission Matthew Coats added: “The LSC worked closely with the police on this case and we are pleased that both accused has pleaded guilty. Legal aid funding is public money and we will not tolerate people trying to defraud the taxpayer.
"We are actively engaging with our partners across the public sector to rigorously pursue and combat fraud."
Both Khatana’s will be sentenced at Preston Crown Court on 12 September.


“Khatana was a ruthless serial fraudster who was prepared to use his daughter to steal from a wide range of individuals for his own gain." Detective Superintendent Jason Hudson
North West Regional Organised Crime Unit

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Home Office Approved Immigration Adviser Jailed for Visa Scam

Home Office Approved Immigration Adviser Jailed for Visa Scam | Race & Crime UK | Scoop.it
A Home Office-approved adviser and his wife who made more than £1million helping scores of immigrants illegally remain in Britain as part of a visa scam were jailed yesterday.

 

When police raided the family home of Vijay and Bhawna Sorthia, they found bundles of cash totalling £330,000 hidden in a cupboard as well as documents relating to dozens of individuals they had unlawfully assisted.
Mr Sorthia, 35, who ran immigration advisory service Migration Gurus from a small office in North West London, was yesterday imprisoned for 10 years for his part in the lucrative plot.

He first came to Britain as a student in 2000, but then illegally gained a work permit in 2004 after claiming he was employed by a sham company.
His 31-year-old wife, who said she worked as a cleaner at his office, was given a 15 month jail term for her ‘subordinate role’ in the scam.
The pair, who are both Indian nationals and have three young children, will face deportation once their sentences have been served.
As an accredited adviser with the Offices of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), which is linked to the Home Office, Mr Sorthia was able to assist individuals with claims for asylum, as well as immigration, residence and citizenship applications.

In its advertising, Migration Gurus touted itself as ‘a leading Immigration and Overseas Education consultancy’ which had ‘assisted hundreds of individuals’ enter or remain in Britain.
During an-18 month period between 2008 and 2010, the couple helped more than 160 clients illegally gain a visa by providing them with false documents alleging they were highly-skilled migrants.
It is estimated they charged between £3,000 to £5,000 each time.
But in reality, the individuals were already in Britain as foreign students, or migrant workers employed as low-skilled labour at supermarkets, betting shops or petrol stations, who would not have qualified for a new visa under the current immigration criteria.
In a bid to bypass Home Office rules, the couple were using up to 70 sham companies to provide clients with payslips and wage payments which gave the appearance they were earning much larger sums, making them eligible to remain.
Sentencing the couple at Isleworth Crown Court, Judge Andrew McDowall said Mr Sorthia’s actions risked ‘undermining’ Britain’s immigration controls and ‘eroding public confidence’ that migrants had arrived lawfully.

He warned: ‘During difficult economic times, it becomes easier for those who are motivated by racial motives to start casting aspersions against those that are properly and legitimately in the country by trying to paint everyone of that ethnic group as tainted in some way, over the wrongdoings done by a limited number.’
The court heard that following their arrest in May 2010 by investigators from the UK Border Agency, the couple sold their home in Stanmore, North West London, and transferred £466,000 out of the country, before fleeing to India on fraudulent passports.
They returned to Britain in the July 2011, but only after taking a £21,000 holiday across the United States, stopping off in New York, the Grand Canyon, Atlanta, Louisiana and San Francisco.
In total, the jury were told Mr Sorthia helped 166 people gain visas illegally over an 18-month period.
But the real number of migrants who gained a visa unlawfully is likely to have run into the hundreds, with investigators dealing with the case estimating the criminal proceeds from the scam could have netted the pair up to £1.2million.
Fifteen clients who benefitted from the scam have already been convicted and sentenced to between eight and 10 months in prison. Of these, 14 have already been deported.
Senior UKBA investigating officer Robert Coxhead said: ‘Vijay and Bhawna Sorthia knowingly flouted the UK’s immigration laws.
‘They ran a sophisticated scam designed to help people who would otherwise have no right to be here stay in the UK.
‘The amount of cash found at their home illustrates how lucrative this was, and we will now begin the process of stripping them of those assets using the Proceeds of Crime Act.
‘The couple will also face deportation after they have served their sentences.’
The pair were both found guilty of fraud charges and removing criminal property, while Mr Sorthia was also guilty of obtaining leave to remain by deception.
A confiscation hearing to recover any money the couple made from the scam will take place later this year.

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Tower Hamlets: Muslim voters in fraud row 'forgot how they signed registration forms'

Tower Hamlets: Muslim voters in fraud row 'forgot how they signed registration forms' | Race & Crime UK | Scoop.it
A senior official at Tower Hamlets has rejected allegations of postal vote fraud — claiming Muslim voters simply forgot how they signed registration forms.

 

A senior official at Tower Hamlets has rejected allegations of postal vote fraud — claiming Muslim voters simply forgot how they signed registration forms.

Isabella Freeman, borough legal chief, spoke in a bid to explain a spike in rejected ballots following a by-election. The Met has launched an investigation into claims of voter fraud.

Today the £120,000-a-year monitoring officer was accused of failing to “face up to reality” and accept voter fraud is on her doorstep — ahead of tomorrow’s London-wide elections for the next Mayor and the 25-seat London Assembly. Asked about an increase in rejected postal votes from 10 per cent to 14 per cent, Ms Freeman said this was because “voters have forgotten how they signed the registered application in the first place ... this is not unusual in relation to Muslim voters.”

The council would not comment on whether she was referring to language problems, or the use of different surnames within the local community.

Police are probing claims that the Banglatown and Spitalfields ward poll was rigged. It was won by independent Gulam Robbani, who was backed by Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman.Of 956 postal votes cast, 135 were rejected. Mr Robbani won by just 43 votes. There is no suggestion he was involved in voter fraud.

Tory co-chairman Sayeeda Warsi today said: “We know serious allegations of voter fraud in Tower Hamlets are being investigated by police, yet the councils seem to want to cover it up.

“Rather than shamelessly characterising voters, the council should be facing up to the reality that electoral fraud seems to be happening on their doorstep. I urge Londoners to go out tomorrow and use their vote. Don’t leave this election to chance.”

The Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, Rushanara Ali, said: “We want the council to take this issue very seriously so the public in Tower Hamlets can have confidence that they will be able to vote in a free and fair way.”

Fears have been voiced that voter fraud in Tower Hamlets could affect the London Mayor result.

The Spitalfields turnout last month was nearly double that of the previous election in the ward — 31 per cent to 17 per cent. Residents said campaigners collected ballot papers, offering to post the votes on their behalf.

There are also claims of apparent “ghost voting” in one block, with up to eight postal voters registered in some flats. Police will be stationed at polling stations across the borough tomorrow to prevent voter intimidation.

A Tower Hamlets spokesman refused to comment on Ms Freeman’s statement but said: “The relatively high rejection rate at our recent by-election is testament to the rigorous checks we have in place to ensure a fair election.

“Unlike many other authorities we electronically scan 100 per cent of postal votes, and if the signatures do not match those that we have on our records then these votes are rejected in accordance with electoral law.”

Stephen Hammond, parliamentary aide to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, has called for Tower Hamlets to be made to do a detailed check to stop postal voting fraud, including a full audit of every property where more than four voters are registered.

Law chief shows 'lack of care'

Monitoring officer Isabella Freeman is employed to ensure that Tower Hamlets acts and operates within the law.

As the council’s Assistant Chief Executive of legal services she is paid in excess of £121,000 to defend its reputation.

Council sources today condemned her comments about Muslim voters. One said: “What she has said shows a complete lack of care about voter fraud in Tower Hamlets. There have been allegations about this for years. To ignore it like this is shocking.”

The monitoring officer has a duty to report to the whole council if it has broken the law.

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When did Britain become the kind of country that tolerates voting fraud? - Telegraph

When did Britain become the kind of country that tolerates voting fraud? - Telegraph | Race & Crime UK | Scoop.it
Labour's massive expansion of postal voting opened the door to electoral fraud. (When did Britain become the kind of country that tolerates voting fraud?
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Sun, sea and scams: Cheating mother who falsely claimed £37,000 in benefits caught after posting holiday snaps on Facebook

Sun, sea and scams: Cheating mother who falsely claimed £37,000 in benefits caught after posting holiday snaps on Facebook | Race & Crime UK | Scoop.it
Andrea Raftis claimed she was a single mother in Sutton with her two children - but she was with husband Fawad Rahimi, who ran a takeaway and had two properties.
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