Wife of millionaire pretends to be 'struggling single mum' in housing fraud

A woman pretending to be a struggling single mum, while her successful businessman husband earned an estimated $1 million a year, has been living in a public housing home.

Rebecca Khodragha married Khaled in 1991 in an Islamic ceremony and never registered their marriage.

Since 1999 the de-facto couple has lived in a public housing unit in Punchbowl, where Ms Khodragha has claimed a rental subsidy as a “battling single mum on welfare”.

Rebecca Khodragha tried to hide her face when confronted by 7 News.
The public housing unit Ms Khodragha and her family lived in. Source: 7 News

But under Freedom of Information documents obtained by 7 News, it can be revealed Khaled registered an electrical contracting business at the Punchbowl unit, earning an estimated income of $1 million a year.

The couple also own two properties, including a unit in Lakemba which was purchased in 2000, and a house in Greenacre, which they bought in 2002.

“They’re not just cheating the taxpayer, they’re cheating people in need who should be getting accommodation that they’re not,” Housing NSW spokesperson Paul Vevers said.

The couple purchased a unit in Lakemba despite claiming rent assistance. Source: 7 News
The house purchased in Greenacre. Source: 7 News

According to Housing NSW figures, there are 60,000 households waiting for public housing, with some forced to wait at least 10 years for a permanent home.

Figures show public housing fraud totalled $8.8 million between 2010 and 2016, wih 40 per cent of those cases in Greater Western Sydney.

An anonymous caller uncovered Rebecca Khodragha’s fraudulent activity, and last year she was convicted of two counts of fraud.

Ms Khodragha outside court. Source: 7 News

Ms Khodragha was sentenced to three months’ jail, to be served as home detention, but is appealing that decision.

“We will back-charge her all of the rents that she should have paid,” Mr Vevers said.

“That will amount to many, many thousands of dollars.”

The mother-of-two will be back in court to appeal the home detention decision later this week.

Today's top news stories - February 9