2 Mar 2015

Unanswered questions about 426-year repayment plan

A fomer Gwent publican who obtained £25,000 in a benefit fraud can pay it back at £5 a month - something which would take 426 years.

At Newport Magistrates Court yesterday, Ian Meyrick, 62, pleaded guilty to false representation to obtain benefits, after failing to disclose £80,000 he had in an investment bond.

He was given a suspended sentence.

The court heard that Meyrick had failed to disclose an investment bond which contained £80,000 when he applied for housing benefit in February 2010.

The court heard that Meyrick, the former landlord of the Coach and Horses pub in Chepstow, had received £25,572.66 in benefits including £21,622.53 in housing benefits and £3,910.13 in council tax benefits.

Meyrick is currently paying back the money at £5 a month and has paid back £22.53 so far.

Ioan Gealy, prosecuting on behalf of Monmouthshire County Council, told the court when Meyrick was first interviewed he said he was no financial expert and didn’t have control of the bond.

Gary Driscoll, defending, told the court that Meyrick was out of work for a time in 2009 after he broke his leg in five places and was in hospital. He said: “As he was in hospital he was not working any longer when he made the claim for benefits. At the time he was aware he had the bond but didn't have control or wasn't in a position in order to access it. In his mind that money was in a bond and was not readily available.”

Mr Driscoll told the court that Meyrick’s daughter who was in her 30s was going through IVF at the time which was costly. He said: “He comes across as a person who clearly is law abiding and lived generally an honest lifestyle. He talks about family in a way he clearly is a proud man. He is humiliated and embarrassed by being here today.”

Meyrick, of Tilt Road, Cobham, Surrey, who is originally from Pontypridd, spent the majority of his life mining in Africa. He spent from the age of 22 there before coming back to the UK in 1994. He ran the Coach and Horses pub on Welsh Street in Chepstow for 12 years before he moved to Surrey last year.

The court heard he now has an engineering job in Surrey and earns £1,700 a month, but his monthly outgoings are more than that.

How is that being financed?

Richard Davies, head of revenue and benefits at Monmouthshire council, said after the hearing they were not aware of Meyrick's employment and the repayment figure was based on him receiving no income. "We we will be looking at his ability to repay and what other commitments which he might have. We will expect to increase the level of repayment. We are pleased with the outcome of today’s case. This sends a clear message to fraudsters that the theft of money from the Housing Benefits scheme will not be tolerated and that the courts will deal with them appropriately.”

Great job, Monmouthshire council. Has he still got his investment bond? Or did you fail to find about that too?

Meyrick received an 18 week sentence of imprisonment which was suspended for 12 months. He will pay costs of £150 and a victim surcharge of £15.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have Richard Davies' address at Monmouthshire council? I've had no luck finding it online.