A shameless dad is facing jail after he claimed almost £50,000 of child benefits over an 11 year period – for his DEAD daughter.
Jem Bakalej, 56, swindled thousands of pounds of taxpayers cash by pretending to be the lone parent of his child who passed away in 2001.
A court heard between June 2001 and November 2012 he pocketed a total of £49,000 in state handouts for daughter Grace.
Prosecuting Richard Dewsbury said Bakalej made a claim as a single parent of Grace – who was born prematurely on June 16, 2001.
But the child was actually living with her mother in Northampton and died a month later on July 21, 2001.
At Northampton Crown Court last Friday Bakalej pleaded guilty to three counts of cheating the public revenue.
Judge Lynn Tayton told him to expect a jail term when he is sentenced later today.
The court heard Bakalej also applied to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in March 2002 for income support as a lone parent of Grace, even though she had died eight months earlier.
He continued to claim income support until November 2010, stealing a total of £35,359.64 from the taxpayer.
After obtaining employment in August 2010, Bakalej claimed child tax credits as a lone parent of Grace worth a total of £6,806.21.
As a result of his false statements he also received £6,826 in child benefit, which he claimed until March 2011.
Mr Dewsbury said: “The child benefit should have ceased to have been paid the first Monday after the child’s death in July 2001.
“But he failed to inform Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs about Grace’s death, and payments continued until 2011.
“They only ceased when he failed to respond to enquiries from HMRC.”
Bakalej lived with his partner in Northampton and she received child benefit for their other three children.
After being interviewed by police in November 2012, Bakalej told officers he had continued to claim for his dead daughter because he “needed the money.”
He admitted he knew it would get him a higher income and accepted that he was being greedy.
The court heard Bakalej had also applied for Social Fund Loans in 2005,2006 and 2007 using his late daughter’s details.
He has not worked since 2000 and is repaying the money back at £120 a month – which will take him 34 years to do.
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