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20 May 2013

Pensioner was benefits thief for nine years

A man who fraudulently claimed over £30,000 in benefits has received a suspended prison sentence and 16 week curfew.

Aubrey Atkinson, 72, formerly of Carr Road in Fleetwood, claimed pension credit and council tax benefit for nine years despite owning property abroad.

A joint investigation by Wyre Council and the Department for Work and Pensions found that in January 2008, Atkinson had over £140,000 in his bank account, which had since disappeared.

When interviewed about the matter, he failed to account for the money but admitted to owning property and land in South Africa. Capital of that amount would have negated his entitlement to pension credit and council tax benefit however Atkinson failed to inform the authorities of his financial circumstances.

As a result, he was overpaid £31,486 in council tax benefit and pension credit between October 2003 and February 2012.

Atkinson pleaded guilty to four charges relating to benefit fraud on 10 April and on 16 May appeared at Preston Crown Court where he was sentenced to 16 weeks' imprisonment suspended for 18 months and a 16 week curfew between the hours of 8pm and 6am.

In addition, Wyre Council and the Department for Work and Pensions will seek to recover the overpaid money directly from him.
  • 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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