1 Apr 2013

Jail for benefit thief and fraudster

A Lancashire benefit cheat who obtained fake mortgages and falsely claiming income support totalling over £200,000 has been jailed. (h/t Dave)

John Stewart, 61, pleaded guilty to two charges of obtaining mortgages under a false name and false employment, to a total value of £190,000.

Stewart, of Broadway, Lancaster, also pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining income support to the value of £44,250.

The offences dated back to 1995 and, in 2011, police entered an address on Brook Road in Heysham, which Stewart had bought using a false identity.

During a search of the property, officers discovered bank documentation which sparked an investigation into suspected offences of fraud.

Stewart was jailed for 32 months at Preston Crown Court on Thursday.

Speaking after the sentencing, PC Stephen Dixon, Financial Investigator, said:
We are very happy with the sentence given today and hope that it sends out the message that Lancashire Police are dedicated to tackling fraud.

This has been a complex investigation and by working closely with our partners at the Department for Work and Pensions we have been able to present such strong evidence against John Stewart.
An application under the Proceeds of Crime Act will now be pursued by Lancashire Police in an effort to recover any benefit obtained by John Stewart.

Vernon Sanderson, DWP Regional Fraud Manager, said:
This case typifies the results that are being realised through the excellent joint working relationship between Lancashire Police and the DWP.

Without our police colleagues' help, this fraud would have continued for some time, but now another benefit thief has been stopped in his tracks.

Continued cooperation between law enforcement bodies will ensure many more are brought to justice.

Social Security Benefits are intended for those in most need, not to line the pockets of benefit thieves.

I would urge anyone who has any information about Benefit Fraud to contact the National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854440."

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