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6 Feb 2014

One-eyed ex-con jailed for benefit fraud

An ex-con from Liverpool who lost an eye in a prison accident was jailed for benefit fraud after failing to declare his £70,000 compensation pay out.

Igor Nation, 36, began claiming income support in 2002 because he was unfit to work and that meant he was also entitled to council tax and housing benefit.

But when he received a large cash pay out because of the loss of his eye he invested most of it without telling anyone as it would have stopped his benefits.

Kevin Slack, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court Nation’s savings amounted to around £40,000 in an ISA and investment fund which meant he had been overpaid in benefits by more than £37,000 between March 2008 and March 2012.

Nation claimed his injury lawyer told him he didn’t need to tell anyone about the money but when he was due to face trial earlier this month failed to turn up and was arrested on a warrant.

When he was brought to court he changed his mind and pleaded guilty to three charges of failing to declare a change in circumstance.

Nick Cockrell, defending, said the last few weeks in prison had been hard on his client, especially as he lost his eye in an incident while in custody.

Mr Cockrell said Nation had been out of trouble for years and tried to live a quiet life without bothering anybody and hoped he would be given a suspended sentence.

But Judge Thomas Teague, QC, said:
The public would expect in view of the circumstances in this case it should be marked by an immediate term of imprisonment. What makes this case so serious to my mind is the reason you lost your entitlement was not that you managed to get some low paid job but you received a large sum, a capital sum, which you have spent while claiming money from the tax payer to which you were not entitled.
He jailed him for 16 weeks. He was also sentenced to two weeks in prison for jumping bail.

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