Ojo, a former security officer for HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), was dismissed when his crimes were uncovered.
Speaking after the sentencing Ian Horridge, Senior Manager, HMRC said:
“People who commit tax credits fraud should be warned – we are increasing our efforts into identifying and investigating cheats. The public expects HMRC employees to act with integrity. Only the tiniest minority of our staff commit fraud but we deal decisively in such cases.”
The court heard that Ojo’s marriage to Saidu in Nigeria in December 2007 is believed to have been a ‘marriage of convenience’. Saidu lived with him only briefly, or not at all on their arrival in the UK. However Ojo, who is now the holder of a British passport, began claiming tax credits in December 2008 as part of a joint application with Saidu. He also under-declared his earnings to increase the amount of money he received.
Later, Ojo submitted a single tax credits claim, and continued to claim as a single person even when his new partner moved in. He continued to lie about his income, and claimed child benefit for two children that he had no responsibility for. In just over two years Ojo fraudulently claimed £22,400 he knew he wasn’t entitled to.
On moving to the UK, Nigerian Kemi Saidu was subject to immigration control and therefore not entitled to tax credits or child benefit. However, she submitted a joint tax credits application and a separate child benefit claim for three children, two of whom didn’t live with her.
After leaving Ojo, Saidu immediately moved in with another partner but submitted a claim for tax credits as a single person. In two and a half years she fraudulently claimed £27,888.
In addition to tax credits and benefits fraud, both Ojo and Saidu allowed third parties to use their names and national insurance numbers in order to work illegally in the UK. And despite claiming tax credits as a single person, in 2011 Saidu applied to the Home Office for leave to remain in the UK on the basis of her ‘marriage’ to Ojo, which he supported. As a result of this action, both were charged with immigration offences.
At Manchester Crown Court yesterday (Thursday 26 July) Anthony Opeyemi Ojo was sentenced to a total of two years imprisonment for the offences. Kemi Kudirat Saidu was sentenced to a total of 12 months in jail suspended for two years and given a 150-hour community work order. In court it was explained that her immigration status will be determined separately and that this conviction may be taken into account.
Notes to editors
1. Defendants’ details:
Anthony Opeyemi Ojo, DOB 02.06.63 of 2, Highgate Crescent, Gorton, Manchester. Ojo was charged with tax credits and child benefit fraud, providing identification documents to assist in fraud, and assisting a breach of immigration law.
Kemi Kudirat Saidu, DOB 01.07.71 of 23, Rowcon Close, Audenshaw, Manchester. Saidu was charged with tax credits and child benefit fraud, seeking to obtain leave to remain in the UK by deception, and providing identification documents to assist in fraud.
2. Ojo was employed by HMRC in March 2009, and dismissed in December 2011.
3. Ojo and Saidu entered guilty pleas at Manchester Crown Court on 12 June 2012.
4. HMRC’s flickr channel www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk
5. Follow us on Twitter @hmrcgovuk
Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.
HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.