Drug dealer Iftikhar jailed for falsely claiming benefits

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MANCHESTER: A drug dealer Iftikhar illegally pocketed £21,000 in benefits by falsely claiming he was the sole carer for his daughter then used the money to buy a house during a three-year money laundering scam. Iftikhar Sarwar, 39, claimed a carer’s allowance and tax credit – saying he looked after his child when she was in fact living her aunt.

According to a ‘Manchester Online’ report, Iftikhar, from Kirkholt, Rochdale, laundered the benefit cash and drug money he made from peddling heroin and crack cocaine through the purchase of a house with a friend. 

He later fled the UK after being arrested for drug dealing and went on the run for more than three years before being detained in Italy.

Minshull Street Crown Court, in Manchester, Judge Angela Nield criticised the welfare system – condemning how ”easy” it is to steal state-funded welfare handouts – as she jailed him for five years.

The judge told Iftikhar: “You fraudulently obtained tax credits, an offence made relatively easy by the fact the system of benefits in this country has largely been based on the honesty of those who claim against the system.

“If an individual chose to be dishonest against the system which is vulnerable to the lies they tell, it is expensive to pursue an investigation into the enquiry.  In your case you stated you were responsible for your daughter, who at the time you claimed tax credit for, when she was residing with her aunt.“But by these lies you secured benefit to which you were not entitled to do so for a period of 151 weeks and you received payment of just over £21,000.