Couple who illegally claimed £1million in benefits sentenced, following Lambeth Council probe

30 May 2023

Written by: Lambeth Council

Council statements and updates - News and announcements - Post Type

Two people have been sentenced to a total of 15.5 years in prison after being found guilty of a series of Direct Payment frauds, exposed by a Lambeth Council investigation.

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Couple who illegally claimed £1million in benefits sentenced, following Lambeth Council probe

Emmanuel Bay, 68, and Nancy Bay, 67, of Sudbourne Road, Brixton were convicted of March of offences including failing to declare recovery from ill-health and the purchase of five properties, committed over almost two decades.

On 26 May, Mr Bay received a custodial sentence of eleven years and Nancy Bay was sentenced to four and a half years. A third co-defendant, Bruno Matudi, 68, was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years, with a requirement to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

During sentencing, Judge Michael Wood KC said of Emmanuel Bay: “In my 29 years as a Recorder and 40 years as a barrister, I can say without a shadow of doubt, Mr Bay is the most dishonest man I have ever come across.”

The judge also praised the Lambeth Council team that uncovered the fraud.

A Proceeds of Crime Act investigation will now be carried out by council officers to recover all available proceeds of crime from assets owned by Emmanuel and Nancy Bay.

Both Mr and Mrs Bay have also been served with deportation orders.

Word from the Cabinet

Councillor David Amos, Lambeth Cabinet Member for Finance and Cost of Living, said: “Direct Payments are made to support people with disabilities who need additional support, and it is vital that every penny of that money goes to the people who need it.

“This is a staggering case and I am delighted that it was a Lambeth Council investigation that helped bring the perpetrators to justice. We will always rigorously investigate and pursue any allegation of fraud, to ensure that anyone who attempts to take advantage of the system is held to account.”

Emmanuel Bay and Nancy Bay had been found guilty at Inner London Crown Court on 6 March, after a four-week trial of 21 offences charged under the Theft Act, Fraud Act and Forgery and Counterfeiting Act. The offences took place between 1999 and 2018.

Direct Payments are made to persons with disabilities who require additional support. The payments provided by local authorities allow service users who qualify due to disability or ill health to source their own care.

The fraud came to light when officers from Adult Social Care at Lambeth Council became suspicious when visiting Bay to conduct a regular review of his claim, and referred the matter to the council’s Counter Fraud team.

The offences relate to fraudulent claims for Direct Payments in the name of Emmanuel Bay, who failed to divulge to Lambeth Council that he had recovered from a previous illness and continued to claim support.

He also failed to declare the purchase of three properties in Brixton, each of which would have removed his entitlement to support. Nancy Bay also purchased two properties during the period of the claim.

Bay received large payments of Direct Payments that he was not entitled to. He also received payments from the Independent Living Fund and Department for Work and Pensions as a result of his fraudulent claims and failure to declare his recovery.

The total loss to the public purse is estimated at £1 million.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge commended Lambeth for investigating and prosecuting this matter. He singled out the lead investigator for special praise, commenting on the amount of work he had put in to obtaining and putting together the material to be presented in evidence.

The Judge alluded to Officer’s Commendations that judges will sometimes give in police matters, saying that he would like the investigator to be recognised by those ‘higher up’ for his work in this case.