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3 May 2013

No jail for £54k benefits thief

Phil Turner from Basildon Council hasn't been afraid to criticise light sentences for benefit fraud (see here) and he's been at it again, justifiably.

A benefit fraudster has been spared jail despite claiming more than £50,000 in false benefits when he had £112,000 in the bank. (h/t Dave)

Brian Carter admitted conning more than £54,000 in false benefits over a six-year period despite his healthy bank account which he had failed to disclose to Basildon Council.

But the 58-year-old, from Vange, Essex, avoided a prison sentence and was handed just 200 hours unpaid work.

The sentence has been slammed by councillors who say they are sick of benefit fraudsters dodging jail despite years of false claims.

Phil Turner, deputy leader at Basildon Council, said:
You have to question these liberal-minded magistrates who clearly felt it was in this man's best interest not to lock him up, but what sort of deterrent is that for others fraudulently claiming benefit?

I don't have £112,000 in my bank, and your average hard-working, law-abiding citizen would be praising God for having that amount of money in the bank.

His sentence is just a slap on the wrist. Magistrates need to get a backbone. There has got to be a change in legislation where the punishment fits the crime. If you walked into a bank and pilfered that amount, you would get banged up and so should this guy. This is unforgiveable.
Carter conned £18,184.99 in housing benefit, £5,808.27 in council tax benefit and £30,315.05 in income support despite having £112,606.12 undeclared in his bank account.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to notify a change of circumstances when he appeared in the dock at Southend Magistrates' Court last month.

On Monday he appeared at the same court for sentencing and was ordered to complete 200 hours unpaid work and pay back the fraudulently claimed benefits as well as £3,328 legal costs.

Carter could have faced up to nine months in jail for his fraudulent actions if he was dealt with in crown court and each charge ran after the other.
  • 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!
Update Brian Carter has said, “They’re not getting one solitary penny back off me.” He is a council tenant and jobless.

Rent-a-quote Tory MP Philip Davies said:
This man should have absolutely been sent to prison and have everything taken off him, including his council house. Despite his bravado I have never come across a criminal who asks to go to prison.

He should have been put away for a long time instead of being sent home.

Anyone who abuses the welfare state in such a manner should lose their right to access it.
Basildon’s Tory MP John Baron evidently felt he had to add something: “There is no place for benefit cheats in our society. I have always maintained we need tougher sentences for these crimes.”

Inspired.

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