Asylum seeker jailed over benefits
An asylum seeker who claimed she had been gang-raped in Somalia has been jailed for swindling more than £250,000 in a "professionally planned" benefits scam.
Amina Muse, 38, also conned Swedish authorities out of £50,000, spending the money on luxury living and holidays in Africa. While she claimed asylum in the UK, based on "appalling atrocities" committed against her in Somalia, investigators found she was living in Sweden at the time.
Handing her a four-and-a-half-year prison term at Harrow Crown Court in north London, Judge Stephen Holt told her: "One of the most serious aspects of this case is your cynical, dishonest manipulation of the whole system of asylum."
Muse, a mother-of-six who also went by the name of Ayan Abdulle, sought refuge in Britain after moving to Sweden in 1995 where she was granted citizenship and enjoyed a "comfortable" life.
On her UK asylum application, she claimed militiamen stormed and looted her family home in war-torn Somalia on December 1, 1998 because she was a member of a minority group.
"They opened fire at us and then broke into our house by force," she said. "They shot dead my brothers Asad and Burhan. They died instantly in our presence."
But investigators, who suspect Muse to be of Kenyan descent, found this to be the date on which she gave birth to a child in Sweden.
Between June 2004 and May 2010, Muse, from North Circular Road, Neasden, north-west London, claimed a total of £261,358.14 in income support, disability living allowance for one of her children and a carer's allowance for herself. This included child benefit, child tax credits and housing benefit from various local authorities. She received a total of £112,985.51 from the borough of Camden, where she lived in a four-bedroom property.
Condemning her deceit, Judge Holt said: "You applied for asylum in this country and in your long statement for asylum, you set out appalling atrocities that had happened to yourself and your immediate family, including murder and rape of some of your nearest and dearest during the time when you were living comfort in Sweden at the expense of the Swedish taxpayer. That document was entirely false."
Muse denied obtaining money transfers by deception, fraud by false representation, 12 counts of making false representations, four counts of receiving overpayments of benefits and five counts of fraud.