Car dealing church worker convicted of fraud

A car dealer who also worked as a church pastor has received a suspended jail sentence after he was found to have stolen £23,769 in a benefit fraud scam.

Anthony Oggunaike, 43, spent £67,870 on purchasing 84 vehicles between July 2007 and October 2009 while also earning £300 a month for his work as a church pastor. Following an investigation by council officers it was discovered that he was claiming income and council benefits to fund his motor trade business.

As it is for the benefits system, transparency and honesty is vital when it comes to obtaining a motor trade insurance quote. Furthermore, traders will need to remember that having a criminal record will make it difficult for them to get the necessary cover they need to run their business, with many insurers reluctant to provide a policy to someone with a questionable past.

Watford Borough Council found bank statements from Mr Oggunaike dating back to 2008 showing a number of transactions with cash and payments to Auto Trader for advertising cars.

The car dealer-cum-pastor appeared at St Albans Crown Court last week and pleaded guilty to the benefit fraud scam. He was sentenced to 14 weeks custody - suspended for 12 months - was ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £250 in costs and an £80 victim surcharge.