4 Dec 2014

Daytime curfew for £68k benefit fraud

A Redditch man who fiddled more than £68,000 in benefits has been given a suspended jail sentence and will only be allowed out in daytime for emergencies and pre-arranged medical appointments for a year. (h/t A Reader)

Ricky Parker-Smythe, aged 69, has also been ordered to stay indoors on a 8am to midnight curfew seven days a week for 12 months after he admitted benefit fraud.

He said he was single and living with his sister Hazel in Bridley Moor Road, Redditch, when he claimed income support and then pension credit, Worcester Crown Court heard.

But Hazel Parker-Smythe was really his lawful wife and she was working the whole time he was claiming, David Iles, prosecuting, told the court.

Parker-Smythe, who suffers from a number of medical problems including rheumatoid arthritis and appeared in court on a mobility scooter, stopped work in 1988. In 1996, his incapacity benefit stopped and he claimed income support instead, which later changed to pension credit. He was not entitled to either of these and he falsely claimed £33,642 in income support and £33,690 in pension credit over 14 years until 2010.

He admitted the charge and also pleaded guilty to claiming £3,500 in housing and council tax benefit which he was not entitled to because he had too much capital. A proceeds of crime timetable has been set.

Jonathan Challinor, defending, said Parker-Smythe had claimed legitimately for the first eight years after he stopped work and it was not a "professional" attempt to defraud the benefits system. He thought he was entitled to the benefits.

Judge Daniel Pearce-Higgins, QC, said it was a serious case because it ran for so long and was fraudulent from the outset.

He said Parker-Smythe had a number of significant medical issues which would make it difficult for him in prison and also for the authorities. He was given a two-year sentence suspended for two years and a twelve month curfew from 8am to midnight and is only allowed to leave the house during the day for emergencies and pre-arranged medical appointments.


A reader adds: Good punishment. Effectively under house arrest for a year. Saves taxpayers money.

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