A Somalian refugee who pocketed nearly £39,000 in benefits after secretly returning to his homeland because he missed the sunshine has been jailed for 15 months, the Mirror reports.
Mohamed Qoomaall had claimed asylum in the UK claiming he was in danger in his homeland, but moved back to the Horn of Africa in 2013.
The 72-year-old had pension credit payments sent to him for two-and-a-half years as a friend enjoyed rent-free living in his council-funded home.
He even forged an immigration stamp on his British passport in a failed attempt to trick investigators into accepting he had been residing in the UK.
Even after being caught out he claimed had had been in the UK paying bills all along, claiming it was "not a made-up story".
Qoomaal pleaded guilty to two counts of dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances regarding Pension Credit and Housing Benefit between August 20, 2013 and February 22, 2016.
Incredibly, Qoomaal, of Archery Close, Harrow, north-west London, continued to receive benefits, minus a £44 per-week deduction to compensate the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), while his case was pending.
At that rate it would have taken Qoomaal, who has heart and renal issues, 17 years to repay the £38,869.97 total.
He also needed a taxpayer-funded interpreter during eight court hearings.
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