Man who helped benefits cheat gets suspended jail sentence

Jason Gubb (42) from Bristol
Jason Gubb (42) from Bristol

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Jason Gubb was caught on camera on holidays to Iran, America, Malta and Cyprus at the taxpayers’ expense with Abdul Esfandmozd – who pocketed almost £100,000 in a decade after claiming to be wheelchair-bound.

Gubb, 42, who went on the lavish breaks with Esfandmozd and mum Jacqeline Taylor – who was in a relationship with the fraudster – was even clocked wrestling in a Malta swimming pool with his ‘disabled’ friend.

Speaking outside Portsmouth Crown Court today Gubb said: ‘I didn’t know it was going to get this bad. I thought he was disabled.’

‘I do regret what I’ve done. I will never, ever do this again.’

The trio were caught out after council officers noticed Esfandmozd’s paperwork was not in order, He had not submitted receipts for care work he was suppose dot be buying with the benefit money.

Pictures found in a raid at Esfandmozd showed him diving into a pool, dancing, and lifting a woman up on a trip abroad. One photograph even pictured Esfandmozd, of Somers Road, Somers Town, Portsmouth, and Gubb enjoying a hot air balloon ride in Bristol.

He claimed £98,730 in disability payments that were meant to go on carers between 2000 and 2010. Both Gubb and Taylor were named as his carers, as well as former England goalkeeper P. Shilton, athlete D Thompson and even a Mr D. Duck.

Mean while Gubb, of Lower Sydney Street, Bristol,laundered £51,000 through his bank account, which Esfandmozd used to buy his council flat in Somers Town.

Taylor, who lives at the same address as Gubb, was found with £70,000 of Esfandmozd’s money and used £22,000 to buy their Bristol council flat in return for a charge over their property.

Gubb, who has no previous convictions, admitted one count of being concerned in the acquisition retention use of control of criminal property between June 2006 and March 2007.

Mum Jacqeline, 65, admitted one charge of money laundering and one count of possessing criminal property between March 2002 and May 2005.

Gubb was sentenced to four months in jail suspended for a year, put under supervision for a year and told to do 180 hours of unpaid work.

Taylor was jailed for four months.

Esfandmozd, 51, is already serving a four-year jail term after being found guilty of two counts of fraud, two of obtaining money by deception and three of entering into a money laundering agreement and sentenced earlier this month.

Judge Sarah Munro QC described him as ‘one of the most dishonest and manipulative individuals ever to have come before [Portsmouth Crown ] Court.’

Speaking after the sentencings, Gubb said: ‘I think it’s rough justice that it’s happened that my mum has got sent down. There are a lot more serious crimes out there that people are getting away with – you see it all the time.

‘I think he’s an idiot for doing it. He’s stupid to do what he did. I do feel like I’m a victim. I was manipulated.

I didn’t have a clue what was going on until all this happened, then it was too late.

‘I regret ever getting involved in it. We both should have never got involved.’

Judge Sarah Munro QC, sentencing, accepted a basis of plea that Esfandmozd was the principle offender and manipulated Taylor and Gubb. She added: ‘You both knew and must have known from all the evidence I have seen throughout that the man didn’t need a carer, he didn’t need disability payment, he didn’t need any benefits so far as any health issues he suffered.

‘He was entirely fit and able bodied throughout the time that you knew him.’

Portsmouth City Council has hailed the sentencings of Gubb, Taylor and Esfandmozd and today warns other benefit cheats – there is nowhere to hide.

Michael Lawther, Portsmouth City Council solicitor and strategic director, said: ‘We are pleased sentencing has bene passed on Miss Taylor and Mr Gubb. The council pursues benefit fraud vigorously. We take our responsibility to protect public funds seriously, ensuring that claimants are duly entitled to the money they claim from us.

‘We have taken a number of these actions recently with a high degree of success and will continue to pursue cases where fraud has been identified.

‘What has been shown in recent cases is where people do fraudulently claim benefits they do risk the serious possibility of receiving a custodial sentence.

‘We hope that today’s judgement will deter other fraudulent claimants from pursuing this course.

‘We will not hesitate to prosecute anyone found to be unlawfully claiming benefits they are not entitled to.’

Both Gubb and Taylor are subject to proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act. A hearing is set to be held later this year where the pair could be ordered to pay back cash they made from their criminal ways.