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31 Aug 2016

Pensioner ordered to repay £73k

A benefits cheat pensioner has been ordered to pay back the proceeds of a 10-year fraud. (h/t Dave)

Chung Fong, 75, previously avoided jail after pleading guilty to two counts of benefit fraud after wrongly claiming £64,451 in pension credit and £4,328 in council tax benefit between 2004 and 2014.

A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at Cardiff Crown Court saw him ordered to pay back a total of £73,581 within three months plus a further £1,150 towards prosecution costs within six months.

Prosecutors said that while Fong, from Newport, was claiming the benefits, his wife had more than £200,000 of savings in several bank accounts.

During the hearing before Judge Patrick Curran QC he was ordered to pay back a total of £73,581 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 plus a further £1,150 towards prosecution costs.

The defendant was sentenced at Newport Crown Court in March where he was handed a 10-month jail term suspended for 18 months.

Prosecutor Ruth Smith told that hearing Fong completed a form in July 2004 that required him to declare any capital sums he and his wife may have.

She said he declared savings in his own accounts – amounts that would have meant he was still entitled to benefits – but failed to mention the money in his wife’s accounts.

Fong was arrested in 2014 and claimed in a police interview he did not know his wife’s financial affairs.

He was asked about a takeaway business he had previously owned but told police money from that sale had been gambled away.

He later admitted he was aware that his wife had savings that he did not declare in his benefit claim.

Defence barrister Gareth Williams said: “He knew that his wife had money but he tells me he wasn’t sure exactly how much. It seems that they have been living a separate type of marriage in terms of money because of Mr Fong’s gambling problem.”

Source

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