A Zimbabwean woman, living in Smethwick, who received nearly £30,000 in asylum benefits while working illegally, has been jailed for 12 months.
Itai Yvonne Mambo was sentenced at Wolverhampton crown court on 25 September 2012 following an investigation by the UK Border Agency. Mambo, 35, of Beakes Road, Smethwick applied for asylum in 2007. She claimed to be destitute and also applied for accommodation and subsistence.
She received £29,844 in asylum support benefits from May 2007 until July 2011. Her asylum claim was at first refused by the UK Border Agency but the benefits continued to be paid after she made several appeals.
On 31 July 2012 Mambo was arrested by our officers at her Smethwick home after intelligence was received that she had been working illegally.
Fraud investigators established that Mambo had used a forged Home Office letter, showing that she had been granted asylum, to gain employment as a care worker in Great Barr. She was employed by a Lichfield-based care company from July 2007 until July 2011 earning £35,679.
She was also employed as a support worker in Birmingham between May and August 2007 having also used the forged Home Office letter to get on the books of an employment agency. She earned £1,551 during this spell.
She was charged with use of false documentation to gain employment and failing to disclose information to the UK Border Agency.
Mambo pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to six months imprisonment for the false documentation charge and six months to run consecutively for the failure to disclose charge. Carol Mills, UK Border Agency asylum fraud investigator, said:
‘As this case shows, we will not hesitate to prosecute foreign nationals that break our laws stealing thousands of pounds from the public purse. We will track down, prosecute and seek to deport those who, like Ms Mambo, abuse their right to be here.’