9 Jun 2014

Pensioner jailed for £41k benefit fraud

A Newport pensioner has been jailed for four months for falsely claiming more than £41,000 in benefits.

Gwyn Kemp-Philp, 69, of Sandpiper Way, Newport, appeared in Cardiff Crown Court before Judge Stephen Hopkins after previously pleading guilty to 10 counts of dishonestly making false representation with a view to obtain benefits over an eight-year period.

The charges consisted of four of dishonestly making a false statement or representation and six of failing to disclose a change in circumstances which would affect benefit entitlement. Between 2005 and 2013 he falsely claimed £41,162.

Christian Jowell, prosecuting, told the court the claims included council tax, pension credit, housing and incapacity benefit.

Mr Jowell said since the 1980s, Kemp-Philp and his wife had owned nine different UK bank accounts, as well as a French bank account, but declared only one on the application forms for the benefits.

He told the court Kemp-Philp began receiving incapacity benefit in 1993, and in 2005 submitted applications for housing, council tax and pension credit benefits, before submitting a further two for housing and council tax in June 2006.

However, he was not entitled to the benefits for several reasons, including the fact he had owned land in France since the early 2000s, which he had not declared, and when he sold the land for £19,020 he did not declare the income. The court heard in June 2005 he started working for a scaffolding company, which again he did not declare. The court also heard he took out a £25,000 loan from Lloyds TSB in 2007, and gained £13,000 from the sale of a property at the Lighthouse Park Estate, both of which he failed to declare. Mr Jowell said Kemp-Philp was interviewed on three occasions in 2012 and gave ‘several excuses’ for his failure to alert the authorities to his change in circumstances. He said he used the money from the sale of the property to pay back debts; that he thought the land in France was ‘worthless’ and he did not declare his employment as the work was only ‘occasional’. In mitigation, Simon Goodman said Kemp-Philp suffered ill health, had no previous convictions and reminded the court that his client was entitled to some, but not all, of the benefits.

Judge Stephen Hopkins told Kemp-Philp: “For almost eight years you repeatedly committed this fraud of public funds, offences in which you intentionally deceived."

Kemp-Philp and his wife have so far paid back just over £6,000.

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