15 Mar 2017

Pensioner, 68, jailed for benefit fraud

A pensioner who claimed £73,000 of benefits he was not entitled to has been locked up for more than a year.

George Young, 68, claimed the cash while working for a painting and decorating firm.

He appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court for sentencing after previously admitting fraudulently obtaining the cash – totalling £73,090.05 – between April 2008 and April 2014.

Young falsely claimed £52,359.14 in pension credit as well as £16,212.84 in housing benefit and £4,518.07 in council tax benefit.

Fiscal Depute Alan Townsend previously told the court Young had at first applied for benefits while he was working for Aberdeenshire Decorating Services. He said the pensioner had started off working at the firm for free, so didn’t need to declare that to the authorities. But Young then started to be paid, a fact he failed to reveal.

During his sentencing hearing, defence agent John Hardie said his client had considered that what he was doing was providing a consultancy doing things such as administrative tasks, that only someone skilled in the trade could.

He added: “He did not feel what he was doing was unlawful until it was pointed out to him, on that realisation he tendered pleas.”

Mr Hardie also said that so far his client had repaid £9,855. He said: “He will be repaying until his dying day.” He also highlighted that Young suffered from some chronic medical conditions.

On jailing Young for 61 weeks, Sheriff Graeme Napier said:
This amounts to two frauds on the public purse, firstly in respect on pension credit, secondly for housing and council tax benefit. The appeal court in Scotland in 2010 made it clear that those convicted of benefit fraud on the scale you have been should expect to receive a custodial sentence.

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