25 Feb 2013

Suspended sentence for £33k benefit thief

A 55-year-old Grimsby man has been given a suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to two charges of benefit fraud amounting to almost £34,000. (h/t Dave)

Andrew Milligan was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for two years, at Grimsby and Cleethorpes Magistrates’ Court on Friday, 22 February.

Milligan pleaded guilty to two offences of dishonestly making false statements to obtain benefits amounting to £33,973 at an earlier hearing on Friday 8 February.

He was also ordered to return the money he took and pay £100 costs.

In 2007, Milligan claimed Jobseekers Allowance, Housing Benefit and Council Tax benefit for himself, his partner and family on the basis that neither Milligan nor his partner were working.

In November 2011, North East Lincolnshire Council (NELC) received information via the Housing Benefit Matching System that indicated that his partner was in paid employment.

Investigation officers from NELC and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) conducted a joint investigation into the allegations and through their enquiries uncovered evidence to show that Andrew Milligan’s partner had been in work since July 2006.

Andrew Milligan was interviewed under caution and initially denied his partner was working. Further enquiries established that the wages were paid into a previously undeclared bank account held by his partner. Milligan was interviewed again and admitted that he had failed to declare his partner’s work when he made his applications for benefit.

As a result, Milligan’s entitlement to benefit was recalculated and it was established that he had fraudulently obtained Jobseekers Allowance of £10,661.94 between August 2007 and March 2010. Milligan also fraudulently obtained Housing Benefit totalling £20,164.85 between February 2007 and September 2012 and Council Tax Benefit of £3,145.92 between May 2007 to September 2012.
  • The officials got the information in November 2011, but his benefit continued until September 2012.

    Eventually he received a suspended sentence and was told to give back what he'd stolen. Has Mr Milligan suffered any actual punishment at all?

    Benefit thieves do it for the money. They should know they will have to pay back twice what they stole. They should not be eligible for any benefits until they have, and they should have to do some unpaid work every week until the debt to society is cleared.

    That would be a deterrent.

    A confiscation order should be made immediately.

    Hit them in the pocket!

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