17 Jun 2011

Benefit fraud in Brighton & Hove

A benefits cheat claimed more than £26,000 – whilst living in Egypt for two years.

Stanley Snowden, 62, from Brighton, did not tell the authorities he had moved abroad and continued to claim housing and pension benefits.

He was given a ten-week suspended prison sentence at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Monday but was told he was lucky to be spared jail.

The chairman of the magistrates told Snowden he had “come as close as anyone could get to being sent to immediate custody”.

The court was told that Snowden had claimed housing benefit using an address in Sussex Square, Brighton.

In total he fraudulently claimed £15,412 in housing benefit and £10,769 in pension credit.

Brighton and Hove City Council received an anonymous tip-off that Snowden had never lived at the address in Sussex Square and had moved to Egypt two-and-a-half years earlier.

But he was caught out when the council stopped his payments in February and he phoned them to ask why.

The court was told that Snowden had been claiming at Sussex Square since May 2009 and prior to that for a home in Arundel Road from September 2008.

As well as the suspended prison sentence, Snowden was ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work and pay back all the benefits owed, along with £930 court costs.

Another benefit cheat who failed to declare an inheritance of £89,000 was also spared jail this week.

Photographer Richard Chapman, 31, of Clarenden Villas, Hove, admitted fraudulently claiming more than £16,000 in benefits despite having £70,000 in a bank account. Chapman was given an eight-week suspended prison sentence. He was also ordered to do 200 hours of community service, pay back the benefits and £930 court costs.

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