A ROMANIAN fraudster who falsely claimed more than £113,000 in benefits from Enfield Council and other authorities to fund his lavish lifestyle has been jailed.

Illie Schian, 46, of Enfield, was jailed for three years at Southwark Crown Court today after admitting to cheated the the department of work and pensions, HM Revenue and Customs and the council using the alias Nelus Gheorghe.

Despite his poverty-stricken image, Schian was living a life of luxury in Romania with a nine-bedroom mansion and a garage full of expensive cars.

Schian, who moved to the UK in 1999, was arrested on July 20 following a long-running investigation into the organised crime gang he was part of. It is also alleged the group was involved in child trafficking.

Chief Inspector Colin Carswell, who investigated the case, said: "Schian, as a member of an organised crime gang, spent ten years in the UK exploiting the weakest from his own community as well as making a deliberate and sustained attack on the UK benefits system. 

"He portrayed the image of being poor and in need of money from UK benefits. Our Romanian colleagues alongside my team proved this to be a lie. In Romania he owned a nine-bedroom mansion, a BMW X5, Audi TT, motorbikes and quadbikes.

"In one of his Romanian bank accounts was the equivalent of £20,000. Schian now needs to answer the charges, laid against him in Romania, that he and others are responsible for trafficking 181 children to the UK."

Schian will be recommended for deportation to Romania at the conclusion of his prison sentence.