Fraudster is warned she could face deportation

AN EASTBOURNE mother of two has been jailed for falsely claiming more than £40,000 in benefits and now faces possible deportation.

Following a joint investigation between Eastbourne Borough Council and the Department for Work and Pensions, Ifeoma Uwaesue, 28, of Heather Close, appeared before Eastbourne Magistrates on May 25 and pleaded guilty to two charges of dishonestly making false statements to obtain benefits.

Nigerian national Uwaesue claimed housing benefit, council tax benefit and income support for herself and two children but was found to have entered the country on a student visa and had no recourse to public funds.

As a result of her false claims she received benefits amounting to £41,440.67, all of which she will have to repay.

She was sentenced on June 23 at Lewes Crown Court to a total of 10 months in prison.

In sentencing, Judge Anthony said, “You came to this country on the strict basis that you could not have recourse to public funds but within a year of arrival you started to claim benefits to which you were clearly not entitled.

“By July 2006 you submitted further forms which were dishonest and the claim for housing benefit and council tax benefit was dishonest right from the start placing you in the higher bracket of culpability for the purpose of sentencing.

“Only a custodial sentence is appropriate as you are someone who came to this county and embarked upon a fraud on the public purse.

“As the sentence is less than 12 months you are not subject to automatic consideration for deportation. However, it is a matter for the Home Office, but I recommend that you should be deported as your continued presence in the UK is not in the interest of the public.”