A KINGSBURY man who admitted housing and council tax benefit fraud has been ordered to do community service.

Seyed Rabbani of Glenwood Grove pleaded guilty to charges of false accounting when he appeared before Harrow Crown Court.

He and his wife claimed housing benefit and council tax benefit from Brent Council, claiming that they rented their home. But, the court heard, he had bought the property in January 2001 and had no rental liability.

Rabbani's father-in-law, Dr Seyed Fazal Hosseini Milani, had pretended to be his landlord, providing false tenancy agreements in support of the benefit claim and accepting housing benefit payments. Dr Milani was also found guilty of false accounting and fined £1,000, with £600 costs.

Rabbani's brother-in-law, Jaafar Hosseini Milani, was found guilty of the same charge, having provided false employment references to the Cheltenham and Gloucester building society in support of Rabbani's mortgage application. Jaafar was fined £750, with £300 costs.

The total overpayment of housing and council tax benefit amounted to more than £7,700, from March 2001 to April 2002. The money has been recovered by the council.

Judge Barrington Black said the "whole fraud was blatantly dishonest from the outset and was clearly designed to take advantage of the benefit system", and a community service order was appropriate.

He sentenced Rabbani to 140 hours community service.

Councillor Dave Coughlin, the deputy leader of the council, said: "This case underlines our commitment to tackling fraud. It shows how fraud against local authorities is not limited to housing or council tax benefit abuse, but often links to other areas like mortgage fraud."

Brent Council has a free hotline on which the public can anonymously report suspected cases of fraud: call 0800 937 777.