Two sisters have been sent down for extracting £300,000 from the taxpayer in fraudulent benefits claims by ferrying people over from their native Poland.
Inner London Crown Court heard how Monika Gorska, 29 brought 49 people to Britain while sister, Edyta Gorska, 35 prepared fake IDs and laundered the cash. In total, they claimed £297,161 in Universal Credit.
Monika set up multiple accounts with the Department for Work and Pensions back in 2019. Shockingly, the con became easier for the two sisters to pull off after the DWP began confirming identification remotely.
“This was organised, international-scale offending,” said prosecutor, John McNally. “It had four necessary steps – arranging transit to the UK for the person, obtaining an account at banks, claims creation and management, then harvesting.”
Their illegal operation involved compatriot, Karolina Zmijewska, 40, a manager at Barclays Bank who staggeringly won “trusted employee” status at the bank after telling bosses tall tales about her sick mother and Edyta’s emotional backstory. Zmijewska set up 12 fake accounts, laying her hands on £250,000 in stolen cash.
Commenting on the case, Will Quince, minister for welfare delivery at the DWP said: “I welcome these sentences which show we work with partners to relentlessly pursue organised criminals who set out to fleece the taxpayer for their own gain.
“I’m committed to driving down fraud in the benefits system, ensuring the welfare safety net reaches those in need, and this outcome makes clear that crime doesn’t pay.”
Monika was sentenced to two and a half years in jail, Edyta got two years and Ms Zmijewska will spend 18 months behind bars.
The scammers were found out after two of them were caught with fake papers trying to flee the UK in early October last year, a few months before Britain finally left the EU’s clutches.
Another example of the dangers of free movement.