15 Jun 2013

Light sentence for Basildon benefit thief

A Basildon benefits cheat who falsely claimed more than £7,500 by failing to declare capital of up to £95,000 has been ordered to pay just £2,403 as a punishment.

Kirk Gibson was slapped with the fine after pleading guilty to wrongly claiming Council Tax Benefits and Job Seekers Allowance. He received £2,744 in Council Tax Benefit overpayments between April 2009, and August 2012.

He also received £4,789 in Job Seekers Allowance overpayments between October 2009 and March 2012.

Magistrates described Mr Gibson as an 'intelligent man'. They said they took into account that his actions were intentionally fraudulent and had been carried out over a number of years, but also acknowledged his early guilty plea and his previous good character.

Mr Gibson had already repaid all of the overpayments.

He was ordered to pay a £120 fine for each of his offences, plus costs of £1,788 and a £15 victim surcharge.

Councillor Stuart Sullivan, Basildon Council's cabinet member for resources, said:
Although on this occasion the defendant pleaded guilty and has since paid back all the overpayments, it doesn't excuse the fact that he lied and cheated to get money from the public purse. Benefit fraud is against the law and cheats will be forced to pay the consequences.
Benefit thieves do it for the money. They should know they will have to pay back twice what they stole. Hit them in the pocket!

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