Conman El-Kaissi from West Kensington called himself Sam Casey
A conman from West Kensington who created a false identity and tried to fool two councils by wearing a wig has been jailed for seven years after illegally claiming more than £180,000 in benefits.
Over 12 years, Zeyad El-Kaissi cheated the system to claim housing and council tax benefit, jobseekers’ allowance, employment and support allowance, incapacity benefit, disability living allowance, a disabled blue badge, public transport freedom pass and local authority housing.
Isleworth Crown Court was told he even applied for passports using both his real name and a false name he had created, supplying identical photographs for each.
The jury was told he chose the name Sam Casey as the surname sounded similar to his own and gave Sam a birthday just one day after his real birthday, so it was easy to remember. Both he and his alter ego were Arsenal fans.
Mr El-Kaissi, 39, of Comeragh Road in West Kensington was sentenced when he appeared at the court on Thursday June 11.
The court heard the defendant, who was born in London, created the false identity Sam Casey while in his teens. He went on to use this alias to claim housing and other benefits from April 2002 to May 2014.
The court heard he used the benefit money to pay rent to himself as a tenant, then used that money to pay the mortgage on the one-bedroom flat he had acquired through the Right to Buy scheme under his real name, after having pretended to vacate it.
" We are determined that the Council’s scarce resources support those who genuinely deserve support. Cases like this are rare, but they waste taxpayers' money and divert resources from those who need them," said Cllr Lisa Homan, H&F Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing.
"The Home Office and the DWP were both duped by this man, but fortunately, thanks to the diligence and hard work of our officers, the fraud has been uncovered and the interests of the taxpayer and those in legitimate need have been protected."
An anonymous tip-off that Mr El-Kaissi had created a false identity in order to claim benefits was investigated by Hammersmith & Fulham Council, Kensington and Chelsea Council and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Mr El-Kaissi had denied 18 counts of fraud, during a ten-day trial, and maintained throughout that Sam Casey was a real person and his distant cousin. He told unconvinced jurors he’d since heard Sam Casey had grown a beard and left the country.
His crimes extended beyond H&F’s borders into neighbouring Kensington and Chelsea. He sent photographic identification to each council, but disguised his appearance in one by wearing a wig.
The jury unanimously found him guilty on all counts.
This conviction is the latest in a crackdown on housing fraud by H&F which has resulted in successful convictions and the return of almost £3million to the public purse.
June 25, 2015