Jetset couple from Silvertown jailed after £700,000 tax credit scam

12:00 09 April 2012

A jetset couple who swindled at least £700,000 in benefits to build a “property empire at the taxpayer’s expense” are behind bars.

Afonso Daniel, 44, and his common-law wife Ana Ferreira, 31, used a wealth of fake documents to make bogus tax credit claims in 30 different identities.

Daniel enjoyed trips around the globe on the profits from the six-year “sophisticated attack” on a system designed to support working families on low wages.

The pair, who have four young children and joint Angolan nationality, used the money to make investments in five properties in Britain and Portugal.

A sixth address, a Newham Council-owned terraced house in Newlands Street, Silvertown, was used to register some of the benefits. They had previously lived in Stubbs Point, Plaistow, before setting up home in Frome, East Tilbury, Essex.

Daniel was jailed for four years and three months on Wednesday while Ferreira for two years and five months.

Gideon Cammerman, prosecuting, said DWP investigators swooped on April 7, last year, following a surveillance operation.

The couple got friends and family to obtain National Insurance numbers for making the claims.

They then set up front companies to pose as employers of the applicants, and bogus bank accounts for the benefits to be paid into.

Daniel also falsely reported a succession of his own passports stolen to feed them into the con.

Daniel travelled extensively, at least 18 trips to Portugal between 2005 and 2009, and to Madrid, Turkey, Dubai and the Caribbean.

The authorities have frozen UK assets, including bank accounts and properties.

Prosecutors have started confiscation proceedings to try and claw back some of the money.

Daniel and Ferreira admitted conspiracy to defraud the Revenue and conspiracy to possess false identity documents.

Mike Boardman, defending Daniel, said the cheat “is doing whatever he can to put matters right and to get back to his children.”

Adam Wiseman, defending Ferreira, said her part in the scam had been “parasitic”.

Judge Nigel Gerald said: “This was a prolonged, sustained, systematic, carefully planned, exacted and sophisticated attack on the tax credit system.”

Latest Stories

Yesterday, 15:01
The Back to the Future preview of Secret Cinema has been cancelled

Secret Cinema have cancelled their Back to the Future events until July 31.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:49
The two parts of the chair were inspired by the curves of an anonymous male model [Photo courtesy of Gigi Barker][Photo courtesy of Gigi Barker]

A London designer has created a unique chair designed to look, feel and smell like human skin.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:50
Planned engineering works could affect your journey this weekend.

There is a relatively minor programme of planned closures on the Tube and Overground network this weekend - but they could still affect your journey. Read on for the lowdown.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

How much do you really know about QPR legends like Les Ferdinand? Picture: Neal Simpson/EMPICS Sport

Test your knowledge of QPR’s greatest players with our fantastic legends quiz.

Read more
How much do you know about films in London? (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Do you know your Lock Stock from your Long Good Friday, Sliding Doors from Shakespeare in Love?

Read more
How much about this great city do you really know? Take our true Londoner quiz and find out (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Do you know your apples from your pears? Take our Cockney quiz and see how much of a Londoner you really are.

Read more