A 54-year-old Nigerian man, who fraudulently claimed more than £34,000 in benefits with a Nigerian alter ego, was on Friday, October 28th, sentenced to 10 months in prison. Adebola Adesanwo, is a naturalised UK citizen but as a dual-national, also has a Nigerian passport.
Newport Crown Court heard how the former cleaner, had a second alias under a false, forged passport under the name of John Adepujo.
He had previously pleaded guilty to charges of possession an identification document with intent and two counts of failing to disclose information to make a gain.
Prosecuting, David Pugh said that border agency officials became suspicious of the defendant after he submitted a claim for sick pay but was unable to provide certain documents, alerting the border agency.
"On April 22, 2016, border agency officers went to an address in Newport and they were looking for John Adepujo," said Mr Pugh.
After leaving the property without finding the fictitious Mr Adepujo, they returned three days later believing that Adesanwo was the man that they had previously looked for.
"On April 25, they went back. The photographs were matched and he was arrested," said Mr Pugh.
The period of offending was separated into two timeframes – August 2007 to June 2008 and September 2009 and November 2015. During that combined period, the defendant falsely claimed £34,205.30, despite working at a cleaner in Newport at the time.
Defending, Matthew Cobbe said that while the defendant’s action were illegal, he was not committing the fraudulent acts for person gain or greed.
"He was sending the funds back to his parents in Nigeria. As the eldest son, he felt compelled to do so," said Mr Cobbe.
Adesanwo's parents were both sick , and before his appearance at magistrate’s court earlier this month, he found out his father had died from cancer.
Concluding, judge William Gaskell labelled the offences as ‘sophisticated’, adding that the defendant was claiming benefits on a forged passport, despite being a UK citizen, which would have entitled him to benefits any way
However, the judge gave the defendant full credit for his early pleas of guilt, and agreed that Adesanwo had not used the money for his own use, but to help his family in Nigeria.
He will spend half in custody before being released on licence and will pay a victim surcharge of £100 on his release.