An investigation by the UK Border Agency’s criminal and financial investigation team has culminated in the arrest of 9 people, including ringleader Ruth Nabuguzi, who received a sentence of 6 years’ imprisonment.
The crime ring fraudulently siphoned over £4 million in benefits over a period of almost 19 years.
Ugandan Ruth Nabuguzi used several false identities to claim benefit payments for herself. She also assisted others in creating false identities, allowing them to enter the UK illegally. The benefits claimed by Nabuguzi included housing, disability and unemployment benefits, totalling around £1.6 million. She also fraudulently claimed a further £2.3 million in prescription medication from the NHS.
It is believed that Nabuguzi, who also went under the names of Tessie Busulwa, Jane Namusisi and Pauline, used some of her ill-gotten fortune to build luxury apartments, a hotel, restaurants and shops in Kampala, Uganda.
“These sentences show that abuse of our immigration system for profit will not be tolerated,” said Tony Erne, from the UKBA. “The message is clear to those thinking of doing the same: we will rigorously investigate people who seek to abuse the hospitality of the UK and commit crime.”
Nabuguzi pleaded guilty to various offences and was sentenced to 6 years in prison at Croydon Crown Court. Eight others were arrested as part of the sting operation, including Yvette Syapjeu, who was sentenced to 4 years in prison.