Degenham Jobcentre staff swindled £1.7million by hijacking identities and making thousands of false benefit claims, a court has heard. The Nigerian-born gang are accused of ripping off nearly £900,000 in tax credits over five years by submitting claims using names, dates of births and addresses raided from the Department of Work and Pensions’ confidential database.
They are also said to have netted another £820,000 in bogus claims for Sure Start Maternity Grants — a one-off £500 payment to support pregnant women.
They backed these claims by forging the signatures of midwives, nurses and doctors, Croydon Crown Court in South London was told. The cash was said to have been paid into accounts they had set up.
Prosecutor Andrew Evans said Anthony Ekajeh, 48, of Rainham, Essex, played a “principal” role in the fraud while an executive officer at the Dagenham JobCentre in East London.
He denies conspiracy to defraud along with Fiayo Akinwumiju, 35, of Coulsdon, Surrey, and Olufemi Kehinde, 47, of Acton, West London, who worked in other branches.
Three others are being tried in their absence and a seventh man admitted three charges at an earlier hearing. The trial continues.