WHO is the Bulgarian gang member behind UK’s biggest benefit fraud that scammed £50million?

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A Bulgarian gang member behind UK‘s biggest benefit fraud has bragged British prison was like a ‘holiday’ where she could get haircuts and manicures.

Five crooks raked in almost £54million after using thousands of fake ID claims to fuel their luxurious lifestyles, before they were jailed fora total of 25 years last month.

Tsvetka Todorova, 52, Galina Nikolova, 38, Stoyan Stoyanov, 27, Gyunesh Ali, 33, and Patritsia Paneva, 26, used a combination of fake identities and real customers to make roughly 6,000 fraudulent Universal Credit claims during four-and-a-half year spree, operating out of three ‘benefits factories’ in north London

But now Todorova says the true amount the gang plundered could be far higher – as she boasted to Bulgarian media about her luxurious life inside.

She gloated that her time in prison had been like being in a ‘vacation home’, and spoke about going to the gym and doing art.

The fraudster was sentenced to three years in May, but because she had already served 18 months on remand at HMP Bronzefield she was able to leave court on license.

The lock-up, in Ashford, Middlesex, also houses the likes of Jemma Mitchell, who cut up her close friend and wheeled her body around town in a suitcase before dumping her remains, Babes in the Wood murderer Jennifer Johnson and double-killer Nicola Edgington.

‘Living conditions in the prison are very good. I never felt like I was in a prison, it was like a vacation home,’ she told BNT News.

‘Nevertheless I was in a bad mental state in the first two months. There is a gym inside. There is a hair salon, I got a manicure there.

‘You can do your hair or makeup… There are also educational courses. I even visited an art course inside.’

The crook said that lags have to pay for the services, but they only cost ‘£2 to £5’ so are ‘absolutely accessible for everybody’.

Acting independently from the other gang members, Todorova had stolen just under £300,000. 

Throughout her trial she insisted that she had never met her co-defendants before their arrest. Officers found £14,000 stashed around her north London flat.

The fraudster was sentenced to three years in May, but because she had already served 18 months on remand at HMP Bronzefield she was able to leave court on license.

The lock-up, in Ashford, Middlesex, also houses the likes of Jemma Mitchell, who cut up her close friend and wheeled her body around town in a suitcase before dumping her remains, Babes in the Wood murderer Jennifer Johnson and double-killer Nicola Edgington.

‘Living conditions in the prison are very good. I never felt like I was in a prison, it was like a vacation home,’ she told BNT News.

‘Nevertheless I was in a bad mental state in the first two months. There is a gym inside. There is a hair salon, I got a manicure there.

‘You can do your hair or makeup… There are also educational courses. I even visited an art course inside.’

The crook said that lags have to pay for the services, but they only cost ‘£2 to £5’ so are ‘absolutely accessible for everybody’.

Acting independently from the other gang members, Todorova had stolen just under £300,000. 

Throughout her trial she insisted that she had never met her co-defendants before their arrest. Officers found £14,000 stashed around her north London flat.

While further confiscations are set to be held over the summer, The Telegraph reports that currently just under £1million has been recovered. 

The enormous haul of money gained from their ‘complex financial web’ of claims was laundered through a number of accounts, then withdrawn in cash – with £750,000 in bank notes found stuffed in suitcases at one of their homes. 

The group appeared to be hiding in plain sight – posting photos on social media smiling and posing behind the counter of Antonia’s Foods supermarket in Wood Green. 

Investigators who arrested the gang and searched their properties also discovered hundreds of ‘claim packs’ containing forged and false documents, and more than 900 digital devices. 

Prosecutors said the gang used the benefits system ‘like a cash machine’ and on one of the seized mobile phones was a video showing the fraudsters showering their flat with hundreds of £20 notes.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.

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