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13 Dec 2013

£90k benefit thief jailed

A Wallsend benefit cheat who fleeced the system out of almost £90,000 by pretending to live alone for 13 years has been jailed. (h/t Dave)

George Murphy illegally claimed handouts by failing to disclose he was living with his partner, who was working.

Since 1999 he pocketed an average of almost £7,000 a year which he was not entitled to.

Now the 50-year-old has been locked up, despite having begun to pay it back and the fact he is now refusing to even claim benefits he is entitled to.

Sentencing him to nine months in prison, Recorder Christopher Williams, at Newcastle Crown Court, told him: “I take into account the fact you have not claimed anything since May last year and it’s been a difficult time for you. However this court cannot avoid imposing an immediate custodial sentence because of the significant length of the fraud and the amount involved.”

The court heard Murphy had started claiming Jobseekers Allowance in 1999 on the basis he was not working and lived alone. A year later he transferred onto Income Support and said he was ill and unable to work.

He also claimed Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit from 2000, again on the basis he was living alone. Murphy also filled in nine forms over the years saying no-one else was living with him.

In fact his partner had moved in by 1999 and had been earning between £1,100 and £1,500 a month. Murphy would not have been entitled to all of the £89,807 he received if the authorities knew he was living with someone who was working.

His partner gave a statement to the DWP and the local authority confirming she had lived with him since at least 2000.

Murphy pleaded guilty to five benefit fraud charges.

The court heard he suffers from depression and has been under the care of a psychiatrist.

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