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5 Dec 2014

Calculated benefit fraud leads to prison

A callous fraudster who “wickedly” conned an elderly woman out of her life savings and swindled the tax payer out of £120,000 in false benefit claims has been jailed. (h/t Dave)

David Williams, from Prenton, Wirral, claimed he was unable to work due to being severely disabled – while at the same time setting up his own business installing satellite dishes and aerials on people’s roofs.

In a shocking web of lies spun over a period of eight years, the 34-year-old father-of-five even told authorities two of his daughters were disabled and in receipt of Disability Living Allowance – when neither were – to get his hands on more state funds.

He also charged an 88-year-old customer an “exorbitant” £7,500 for a new fusebox he said she needed at her home – but instead used the cash to buy a new van for his aerial installation business.

She was left unable to trust strangers and spent the last year of her life scared to answer the door.

Having pleaded guilty to a string of fraud charges brought by the DWP and Wirral Trading Standards at an earlier hearing, Williams arrived at Liverpool crown court for sentencing on a mobility scooter.

The court was told he had fraudulently claimed a total of £40,000 in incapacity benefit, £70,000 in working and child tax credits and £10,000 in Disability Living Allowance between 2005 and 2013.

Prosecuting, Kevin Slack said Williams began claiming incapacity benefit legitimately in 2002, but that by 2005 it had become fraudulent.

On a claim form that year, he said he was unable to work, climb stairs or even pick his child up – and later claimed to need help from his wife with eating, using the toilet and even holding a phone.

But, in early 2005, Williams set up a carpet cleaning business, informing HMRC so that he could claim tax credits despite receiving incapacity benefits on the grounds he was unfit to work. Williams then told them his partner also worked for the firm 16 hours a week – when she wasn’t working at all – to get his hands on an enhanced level of tax credits following the birth of their first child.

The lies continued to stack up as he began submitting false childcare claims, racking up hundreds of pounds a week for made-up nursery costs.

Despite claiming Disability Living Allowance on the grounds he had to use crutches and a wheelchair, Williams set up a new business, Go Digital Aerials, in 2010 from his former address on Gresford Avenue, West Kirby.

It was through this business he met 88-year-old Mair Jones in 2011, who employed him for several jobs on the back of a leaflet posted through her door. But after winning her trust, the fraudster later conned her out of £7,500 for a fusebox that was never fitted, and fobbed her off when she asked for a refund. When her concerned neighbour tried to speak to him after Ms Jones became suspicious, he threatened to have her arrested for trespassing.

In a victim impact statement before her death last year, Ms Jones said she found it “galling and sickening” that he was driving round in a van she had paid for, and felt the stress and upset had exacerbated her health problems.

Williams’ defence solicitor Michael Davies accepted his client would face a custodial sentence but said Williams’ size and weight would make prison life difficult for him and for staff in getting him around.

Sentencing, judge Dennis Watson, QC, said that other than diabetes there was no objective clinical evidence Williams has any other significant medical issues.

He told him he had performed a “wicked con trick” on a vulnerable woman who trusted him, and described his lies about having disabled children as “callous and cynical”.

Williams was jailed for a total of three years and three months - 27 months for defrauding Ms Jones and 12 for the benefit frauds.

Source, with picture and slow-loading videos

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