LOUGHTON: Apprentice star guilty of benefit fraud

This Is Local London: Tre Azam Tre Azam

APPRENTICE star Tre Azam has been found guilty of defrauding thousands of pounds from the district council.

Azam, of Nevill Way, in Loughton, made false statements on housing and council tax benefits worth £8,686.

The 29-year-old, who appeared on the Apprentice last year, began claiming housing benefit and council tax benefits from Epping Forest District Council in 2004.

On March 31, 2006, he declared three bank accounts and stated that his and his wife’s only income were working tax credits and child tax credits.

The next day he signed a self-employment form declaring he was going to trade as Ayaan Media, but had not yet traded or received income.

An investigation by district council officers discovered that Azam held an undeclared HSBC bank account and had access to a Barclays bank account held in his father’s name, Mohammed Ali Azam.

Invoices sent to a number of organisations were also found from a company called ID Consultants which was registered at Azam’s property.

The invoices had been paid into the Barclays account, and it was discovered that work for the invoiced companies had been carried out before March 31, 2006.

Further investigations found that £500 had been transferred from the ID Consultants bank account to an HSBC account held by Azam’s wife on November 22, 2005.

Azam and his wife also used money obtained from the ID consultants/Barclays account to fund their lifestyle.

The reality TV star had failed to notify the council of any of the changes in circumstances, and at Chelmsford Magistrates Court today (November 28) he was found guilty of the three charges against him.

He was sentenced to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work in the community and ordered to pay the council’s prosecution costs of £6,859.

Azam is currently appealing to the Housing Benefits Appeals tribunal against the Council’s decision that he has been overpaid Benefit of more than £7,000.

Councillor Mitch Cohen, portfolio holder for legal services at Epping Forest District Council, said: “Benefit cheats might have you believe it is not really a serious crime. That is just not true. They are defrauding millions of honest, hardworking families struggling to make ends meet but still paying their taxes.

“Housing benefit is for those people who genuinely need help. We work hard at Epping Forest District Council to uncover fraud. We will not hesitate to prosecute those who are claiming benefits falsely. I hope this sends out a message to other would-be benefit cheat, sooner or later, we will catch you.”

Comments (11)

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8:10pm Fri 28 Nov 08

dissenter 2008 says...

big shot dreamer, who stated in the tv show , he ran a multi national company, with offices all over the world, what a joke,
big shot dreamer, who stated in the tv show , he ran a multi national company, with offices all over the world, what a joke, dissenter 2008

9:12pm Fri 28 Nov 08

Morris Hickey says...

So did Del Boy - New York, Paris, and Peckham.
So did Del Boy - New York, Paris, and Peckham. Morris Hickey

11:30am Sat 29 Nov 08

Bert Small says...

The Criminal Justice system under this Government is a bigger fraud.

Tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime?

Why was he not locked up for six months?

As for his Worldwide Trade claims, never has such rubbish been said since that other burke Jack Tweed (Jade Goody's boyfriend currently banged up for a vicious assault) claimed to be a Football Agent.
The Criminal Justice system under this Government is a bigger fraud. Tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime? Why was he not locked up for six months? As for his Worldwide Trade claims, never has such rubbish been said since that other burke Jack Tweed (Jade Goody's boyfriend currently banged up for a vicious assault) claimed to be a Football Agent. Bert Small

1:49pm Sat 29 Nov 08

inézc says...

Mr Small, the prisons are overcrowded as it is, and enjoyable though the thought is of Mr Azam being forced to share a confined space with a 25 stone bruiser who likes to be called Mabel, the reality is that to repay the money, he's going to have to be out and working.
Mr Small, the prisons are overcrowded as it is, and enjoyable though the thought is of Mr Azam being forced to share a confined space with a 25 stone bruiser who likes to be called Mabel, the reality is that to repay the money, he's going to have to be out and working. inézc

11:35am Sun 30 Nov 08

JackSpur says...

what a cheek this guy has: while he is committing these crimes he has the front to go on The Apprentice and do a radio show. Makes me sick.
what a cheek this guy has: while he is committing these crimes he has the front to go on The Apprentice and do a radio show. Makes me sick. JackSpur

5:22pm Mon 1 Dec 08

James Vorster says...

I saw this on BBC TV and he looked so smug, shame he didn't get jail time.

Unfortunately, his illegal activity only goes to reinforce the stereotype some people have of ethic minorities. He has seriously let down his community.
I saw this on BBC TV and he looked so smug, shame he didn't get jail time. Unfortunately, his illegal activity only goes to reinforce the stereotype some people have of ethic minorities. He has seriously let down his community. James Vorster

1:32pm Tue 2 Dec 08

Walthamster says...

He's not even having to repay the money he stole, as far as I can see, just the prosecution costs. The only 'penalty' is 80 hours unpaid work for the community, which many people do anyway as volunteers. Even paying £6800 costs, he's made a good profit.

Judges who let offenders off like this don't discourage crime. They actually actually encourage people to have a go.
He's not even having to repay the money he stole, as far as I can see, just the prosecution costs. The only 'penalty' is 80 hours unpaid work for the community, which many people do anyway as volunteers. Even paying £6800 costs, he's made a good profit. Judges who let offenders off like this don't discourage crime. They actually actually encourage people to have a go. Walthamster

2:18pm Tue 2 Dec 08

enna says...

Walthamster wrote:
He's not even having to repay the money he stole, as far as I can see, just the prosecution costs. The only 'penalty' is 80 hours unpaid work for the community, which many people do anyway as volunteers. Even paying £6800 costs, he's made a good profit. Judges who let offenders off like this don't discourage crime. They actually actually encourage people to have a go.
I agree why hasn't he been forced to pay back the money that he stole plus the costs. I work very hard and have nearly £1000 taken of me every month in taxes. I don;t mind as if it is going to those who generally need it, but it make my blood boil when people sit on thier backside and basically steal money from me and every hard working person in the country. I would love to not pay any taxes and be alot richer at the end of the month. He is an absolute joke and becasue the system is soft him and many others take advantage.
[quote][p][bold]Walthamster[/bold] wrote: He's not even having to repay the money he stole, as far as I can see, just the prosecution costs. The only 'penalty' is 80 hours unpaid work for the community, which many people do anyway as volunteers. Even paying £6800 costs, he's made a good profit. Judges who let offenders off like this don't discourage crime. They actually actually encourage people to have a go. [/p][/quote]I agree why hasn't he been forced to pay back the money that he stole plus the costs. I work very hard and have nearly £1000 taken of me every month in taxes. I don;t mind as if it is going to those who generally need it, but it make my blood boil when people sit on thier backside and basically steal money from me and every hard working person in the country. I would love to not pay any taxes and be alot richer at the end of the month. He is an absolute joke and becasue the system is soft him and many others take advantage. enna

11:01pm Wed 10 Dec 08

girlfromessex says...

I remember reading he broke his back and had to learn to walk again, which is probably why he was claiming benefits in the first place. Fair enough.

The article in the EF Guardian said that the bank account he failed to disclose only had a few pence in it. If true, the sentence does sound a little harsh.

Going by what I read in the nationals, this story should concern all of us because if financial gifts or goods given to people claiming benefits are deemed to be income, as it appears to have been in Azam's case, an awful lot of us are going to be in trouble including my 95 year old mum who couldn't manage without a lot of financial and other support from our family.

The problem with sentencing nowadays is that the magistrates let people off with light sentences - it isn't the law, it is how it is applied. Elsewhere on this site there is a story about someone who badly abused a dog and got a £100 fine, plus costs! I know what I would like to do to that individual!

I would think that the real sentence here is Azam losing all his work, his radio show on LBC, which wasn't bad, has been axed, for example, and I can't imagine anyone else employing him. It almost makes you feel sorry for the guy and he is going to lose thousands in earnings. He will probably have to sign on now for more benefits as he is probably unemployable. Makes you feel sorry for the guy and his family - if it was you or me - we would just get on with our lives. He can't. Why do so many young people want to be famous? Beats me!
I remember reading he broke his back and had to learn to walk again, which is probably why he was claiming benefits in the first place. Fair enough. The article in the EF Guardian said that the bank account he failed to disclose only had a few pence in it. If true, the sentence does sound a little harsh. Going by what I read in the nationals, this story should concern all of us because if financial gifts or goods given to people claiming benefits are deemed to be income, as it appears to have been in Azam's case, an awful lot of us are going to be in trouble including my 95 year old mum who couldn't manage without a lot of financial and other support from our family. The problem with sentencing nowadays is that the magistrates let people off with light sentences - it isn't the law, it is how it is applied. Elsewhere on this site there is a story about someone who badly abused a dog and got a £100 fine, plus costs! I know what I would like to do to that individual! I would think that the real sentence here is Azam losing all his work, his radio show on LBC, which wasn't bad, has been axed, for example, and I can't imagine anyone else employing him. It almost makes you feel sorry for the guy and he is going to lose thousands in earnings. He will probably have to sign on now for more benefits as he is probably unemployable. Makes you feel sorry for the guy and his family - if it was you or me - we would just get on with our lives. He can't. Why do so many young people want to be famous? Beats me! girlfromessex

7:38pm Sun 18 Jan 09

hilary111 says...

We are all criminals in one way or another and none of us are disclosed like this, i reckon the reason for why this man is being shown here with a photo is because of his race.
There are no worse criminals in this country other than the government.Also to be honest there are much worse criminal than this man and you don't care about why he did this. Is it because its money?
We are all criminals in one way or another and none of us are disclosed like this, i reckon the reason for why this man is being shown here with a photo is because of his race. There are no worse criminals in this country other than the government.Also to be honest there are much worse criminal than this man and you don't care about why he did this. Is it because its money? hilary111

5:48pm Tue 18 Jan 11

mandyamir1 says...

well said!
the queen should pay for her grandsons wedding herself through money she has worked for not from public!
the royals are the biggest frauds,alongside the mps.
well said! the queen should pay for her grandsons wedding herself through money she has worked for not from public! the royals are the biggest frauds,alongside the mps. mandyamir1
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