10 Aug 2016

Jail for deliberate benefit fraud

A benefits cheat from Oldbury has been jailed for 15 months after fiddling more than £30,000.

Mark Cornfield, aged 60, claimed housing and council tax benefits, stating he was jobless and without assets.

But all the time he was picking up money from two private pensions and during the five year period of his fraud received £19,300 from them.

Judge Amjad Nawaz told Cornfield, who had a previous conviction for fraud, the benefits system had to rely on the honesty of the claimants.

He said Cornfield had taken advantage of the system from the outset and his fraud was "deliberate" because he told the authorities he was receiving no pension payments.

Cornfield admitted four charges of benefit fraud and the judge ruled his offending was so serious only an immediate jail term was appropriate.

Michael Grey, prosecuting, told Wolverhampton Crown Court that Cornfield made his false claims between May 2009 and September 2014 and was paid a total of £30,446. But during that period he picked up £16,800 from one of his private pensions and a further £2,500 from the second.

Henry Skudra, defending, said Cornfield had repaid £4,400 back the Department of Work and Pensions and he was "doing his best" to keep making payments. He said Cornfield was full of remorse and had "simply not put his mind" to the issue when he made his claims.

But the judge said it must have been obvious to Cornfield that he was acting dishonesty because when he filled in his claim forms he made it clear he was not receiving any pension payments.


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