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East Molesey pizza shop owner swindled dough from Richmond Council
A takeaway pizza shop owner who swindled false benefits out of Richmond Council for four years will be sentenced at crown court.
The 45-year-old failed to tell Richmond Council of £16,000 of savings he had, separate bank accounts and a property in Afghanistan that he was renting out.
The offences span from September 2006 to May 2010.
During this time, Popal bought Pizza on Thames, a takeaway shop in East Molesey, and withdrew sums of up to £59,000 from his bank account.
The court heard when he was questioned by the council during an interview he was unable to explain why he had taken out so much money.
He received a total of £105,000 between his accounts. Money he said had been loaned by family and friends or given as gifts.
Another account had £12,300 of credits in one month.
Speaking at Richmond Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, September 3, magistrate Julie Clark said the court’s sentencing powers were not strong enough to punish Popal.
She said: “The reason for this is because there are 12 offences and there are a number of aggravating factors and the include, but are not limited to, the list as follows; the offences were committed over a long protracted period, you have property in and outside of the UK, there are unexplained bank transfers of large amounts of cash and within the period you were in seat of benefits you made a business purchase.”
Popal, who is on unconditional bail, will be sentenced at Kingston Crown Court at a later date.
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