• Sun. May 22nd, 2022

Escort agency boss claimed £ 176,000 in benefits while running three companies

Escort agency boss claimed £ 176,000 in benefits while running three companies

  • Andrew Pishides, visually impaired claimed £ 180 per day for fake taxis to go to work
  • He claimed he worked as a software vendor in rural Kent
  • But Pishides ran two escort agencies and a parking company

Sentenced: Visually impaired Andrew Pishides claimed nearly £ 176,000 in benefits while running three businesses

An escort agency boss has claimed nearly £ 176,000 in benefits while running three businesses, a court has heard.

Visually impaired Andrew Pishides, 39, has claimed £ 180 a day for almost four years from the Department for Work and Pensions for non-existent 100 mile taxi fare under a government disability scheme.

Pishides even backed the Access to Work program’s claims with forged receipts.

The businessman, who ran Escort Emporium, Escort Solutions and a parking rental agency called Park Let, was sentenced to eight months in prison, a 12-month supervision order and a cover -fire at Harrow Crown Court today.

Condemning Pishides, Judge Jeremy Donne QC told Pishides: “You must have lived very well during these four years.

“These offenses reflect a moderately sophisticated and extremely persistent fraud that has brought you just under one hundred and eighty thousand pounds.

“The benefits were an income of over forty thousand per year and on top of that you had legitimate sources of twenty thousand per year which would have been equivalent to a six figure salary before tax. “

He added, “Is it fair that you have to go to jail for four and a half months? I admit that I find it difficult.

“I have a clear public duty to deal with those who commit such offenses, but overall I am convinced that a prison sentence can be suspended.”

Pishides, of Neasden, north west London, pleaded guilty to three counts of obtaining money transfers by deception, namely £ 106,000 in access to work payments; Housing allowance £ 37,328; £ 28,637 of income support and evading liability by deception, namely £ 3,874 in council tax.

He was caught off guard when DWP investigators mounted a surveillance operation, which confirmed their suspicions that Pishides was not coming from his home in Wrotham in rural Kent three times a week to work as a software salesman.

The program was set up to provide financial assistance for the travel costs of people with disabilities to work. Mirela Aionoaei is on trial at Harrow Crown Court where a jury heard she drugged six dementia patients

Hearing: Pishides was given an eight-month suspended prison sentence, 12-month supervision order and curfew at Harrow Crown Court, pictured

Pishides also failed to report all of his bank accounts, business income and partial ownership of an apartment without a mortgage in Lewisham when he applied for benefits.

Investigators found that hundreds of pounds a week were deposited into Pishides’ bank account by a large number of women who had signed up to be his escorts.

The DWP is seeking compensation under the Proceeds of Crime Act and is currently deducting £ 100 per month from Pishides Disability Living Allowance payments.

Defending Pishides, James Maloney told the court: “The risk of a new conviction is low, the public is not threatened by the accused.

“He was pretty well off compared to a lot of people and it had to be obvious to him that what he was doing was pretty blatant.”Judge Jeremy Donne QC

“His disability would make imprisonment more stressful and difficult than able-bodied defendants and he would be vulnerable to those in the system who are more knowledgeable than him.”

Pishides suffers from a genetic eye disease, which restricts his field of vision to just 10% and he needs a fourfold magnification in his right eye – his best – to see normally.

“He lost a lot of his life skills, his self-confidence, his self-esteem and fell into a form of depression,” added Mr. Maloney.

“He’s really remorseful about it.”

Judge Donne said: “He was pretty well off compared to a lot of people and it had to be obvious to him that what he was doing was pretty blatant.

“What should the court do with someone who commits offenses of this magnitude during this time?

“However, it is a simple fact that prison would be more difficult for someone with their difficulties and I struggled in my mind as to the correct sentence in this case.”

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