Bearsden woman’s £21,000 benefits fraud

A BEARSDEN woman has pleaded guilty to claiming £21,000 worth of benefits that she wasn’t entitled to.

Samra Riaz (51) of Kinnaird Crescent, Bearsden, fraudulently received housing benefit and council tax benefit from East Dunbartonshire Council over four and a half years from 2005 to 2010.

She was caught out after an intelligence investigation led by the council’s fraud team discovered that Riaz had savings over the limit for entitlement to benefits which she had not declared.

East Dunbartonshire council leader Rhondda Geekie said: “Ms Riaz claimed thousands of pounds in benefits which could have gone to someone in genuine need of financial help. Every penny of stolen benefits defrauds the public purse, and at a time when councils are facing cuts, it forces them to make difficult spending decisions with limited resources. Such blatant dishonesty must be dealt with firmly and we await the outcome of the sentencing.

“For anyone who is genuinely struggling to keep up with their council tax payments, we would urge them to contact us early to discuss the options available.”

Riaz appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court and she will be sentenced on March 28. A Proceeds of Crime hearing has been set for April 12.

If you have any information about suspected benefit cheats please report it to the council’s fraud team.

All information given is treated as confidential. You can talk to someone anonymously by phoning the benefit fraud hotline free on 0800 328 6340 between 8am and 6pm, e-mail fraud@eastdunbarton.gov.uk, go online at www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/reportfraud or write to the Benefit Fraud Team, Revenue Services, East Dunbartonshire Council, Tom Johnston House, Civic Way, Kirkintilloch, G66 4TJ.