A benefits cheat who falsely claimed more than £100,000 by pretending to be blind has been jailed – after he was caught driving and working as a builder. Kelvin Kalloo, 35, slept through his sentencing and could be heard snoring loudly in court as he was jailed for two-and-a-half years for swindling more than £100,000 in disability benefits.
Kalloo, of Dunstable, Bedfordshire, also claimed sick pay from the Department of Work and Pensions, where he advised other people how to claim benefits, over a six year period while receiving fraudulent benefits himself.
He claimed that he had been partially blinded in a car crash, was unable to walk unaided and was suffering from bone cancer.
But his scam unravelled when fraud investigators caught him working as a builder and driving.
Kalloo, who owned four houses and had spent tens of thousands on a platnium Visa card, was sentenced at Harrow Crown Court today after being found guilty of ten counts of fraud in January.
He dozed through the sentencing after taking pills for a sore leg.
The court had heard that he was sacked from his job at the Willesden office of the DWP for gross misconduct in August 2010 after his crimes came to light, but the money he had received as sick pay did not form any part of the case.
Investigators found that he had scammed £70,000 in benefits from Brent Council between 2002 and 2008 and £27,500 from Bedfordshire County Council between 2002 and 2006.
Kalloo also went on to make a further £5,700 claim from Bedfordshire County Council between 2009 and 2010 and wrongly claimed a total of £106,687.
Sentencing the married dad of one today, Judge John Dodd QC attacked Kalloo’s ‘breathtaking dishonesty.’
He added: ‘It might seem to some that you chose to say that which you thought would be to your own advantage regardless of whether or not it was true.
‘We have a system of benefits in this country and while it may not be perfect it is a vital part of our society and values.
‘Those who abuse the benefits system in the way which you have must expect to be punished with prison.
‘You have diverted resources away from those in real need of them and also arguably helped to make it more difficult for those in real need to prove their need.
‘You also by your actions have served to undermine the confidence the public have in the proper and fair operation of the benefits system.’
Kalloo, who owns four houses in the Luton area and travelled internationally while claiming benefits, was sentenced after he was convicted of ten counts of fraud in January.
During his trial jurors heard how he had deceived authorities by claiming the money to pay for a live-in carer.
He exploited a loophole which let him arrange his own care, nominating his wife to do the job having claimed they were no longer married but that she was his carer.
But Kalloo was caught after being spotted behind the wheel of three different cars and working on a Hot Caribbean food stall in Watford.
Fraud investigators from Brent and Bedfordshire councils put Kalloo under surveillance in 2009 after a routine check on claimants revealed the ‘immobile’ fraudster claimed to be living on the third floor of a block of flats in Kilburn with no lift.
They soon realised his actually living in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, and also saw him working as a builder renovating properties.
Harrow Crown Court also heard how Kalloo had racked up between £40,000 and £50,000 of transactions on a platinum visa credit card over a two year period.
Today Kalloo turned up to court in a wheelchair, covered in a blanket and carrying a set of crutches.
His ‘illness’ meant he was unable to step into the dock, meaning two custody officers had to sit beside him in the well of the court.
Prosecutor Clare Leslie said: ‘These frauds were obtained simultaneously claiming for large sums of money from both Brent and Bedfordshire boroughs.
‘This aggravates the offence in showing a level of sophistication.
‘It necessitated the duping of a large number of people and having regard to the nature of the fraud the defendant’s own background of having worked for the Department of Work and Pensions it is said that the fraud falls into a professionally-planned fraud category involving significant planning from the outset.’