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8 Apr 2013

£40k benefits thief jailed for six months

A fraudster who dishonestly claimed almost £41,000 was told he had damaged public faith in the benefits system. (h/t Dave)

Richard Allen, from Barton, Oxford, admitted three charges of benefit fraud and was jailed for six months at Oxford Crown Court.

The 52-year-old failed to notify Oxford City Council and the Department for Work and Pensions of changes in his circumstances when his wife started working in November 2008. Between then and February 2012 he falsely claimed £16,145.20 in housing benefit, £3,879.85 in council tax benefit and £21,836.85 in income support.

Allen also admitted one charge of fraud committed when he filled out a rapid reclaim form in 2009.

The court heard that Rosemary Allen moved in with her husband in September 2007 and took a job as an assistant with Oxford University NHS Trust in 2008.

Allen was assessed and started claiming benefits legitimately when his wife moved in, but then failed to update the information.

Claire Fraser, defending, said the former forklift truck driver had health problems that made finding work difficult.

She said: “He got used to having that amount of money every fortnight. This was his way of contributing to his household.”

She added that he felt “deeply ashamed” of what he had done.

Judge Patrick Eccles described Allen’s actions as a “wilful fraud”:
Many people struggle to live on benefits and the vast majority of people do so honestly.

Offences of this nature cause the public to lose confidence in the way administration of the benefits system is carried out.

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