Big Boobs For Benefit Cheat

Local woman spent welfare payments on breast enlargements

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        Steven and Nelli Kellaway

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A Shepherd's Bush woman who fraudulently claimed nearly £60,000 in benefits payments spent the money on breast enlargements and cosmetic surgery, the Council say.

41-year-old Nelli Kellaway claimed £57,000 in housing and council tax benefit, while failing to declare that she had thousands of pounds in various bank accounts and was letting several properties.

Evidence seized by council officers suggests she blew the money she had claimed on a boob job for herself and her 24-year-old daughter, Natalia. She is also believed to have spent the cash on plastic surgery and cosmetic dentistry while on a trip to Russia.

But speaking to the Evening Standard on Tuesday, daughter Natalia Kellaway insisted the allegations against her were not true: “It is complete lies. I have never had surgery, I've never had an operation. I will be calling my solicitors to clear my name. Everything that has been said is untrue. It has been blown completely out of proportion. This has nothing to do with me,” she said.

The benefit fraud came to light after Nelli's husband Steven Kellaway submitted a claim for housing and council tax benefit in March 2008. On his application form, he declared that he was a single parent, in receipt of Income Support and failed to declare that he was in actual fact living with his wife. He also failed to state that Nelli had more than £80,000 worth of cash in a series of undeclared bank accounts, owned property in Camden and had a rental income in excess of £2,000 per month. Steven Kellaway himself also had £119,000 in an undeclared bank account.

Seven months later, the council received a further claim for housing and council tax from the same address. The claimant declared that Steven Kellaway was her landlord. When the property was visited, a further two witnesses provided statements declaring that Steven and Nelli Kellaway were their landlords who had rented the rooms to them for cash.

During a further search of the Shepherd's Bush property, officers found evidence of a series of undeclared bank accounts as well as Nelli Kellaway’s diary which stated that she and her daughter had travelled to Russia for plastic surgery. Nelli Kellaway’s computer revealed forged documents, including tenancy agreements, evidence of a further false claim for Housing Benefit at an address in Richmond and an income stream from other rented properties across London. One of the spreadsheets identified an income of £98,000 per annum through false claims to the benefits system.

Commenting on the case, Cllr Greg Smith, Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s Cabinet Member for Crime and Street Scene, said: “I have seen some brazen benefits cheats in my time but Mrs Kellaway is out there. Benefits are for the needy – not those in need of a buxom bosom. Kellaway swindled taxpayer’s cash to spend on her own vanity and this council will pursue cheats like her all the way to the courts."

The Council say that Mrs Kellaway will be required to pay back the defrauded £57,000 and all other assets which are deemed to be the proceeds of crime. Given that by her own admissions, Mrs Kellaway has never worked, it is likely that the council will be seeking to recover in excess of £200,000 by way of criminal benefit.

Nelli Kellaway has pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud and two counts of money laundering and will be sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on Friday January 15.

Her husband Steven died during the trip to Russia.

January 12, 2010

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