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31 Aug 2017

Jail makes benefit fraudster finally pay up

A 77-year-old benefit cheating company director who failed to repay the £23,000 he owed since 2014 has finally paid up after spending three days in jail.

Kai Jensen, of Whatfield Hall, near Hadleigh, repeatedly promised hand over the money he owed to Babergh District Council through a confiscation order.

However, the courts finally lost patience with him and activated a suspended jail term. Three days later, after contacting family members from behind bars, Jensen paid up in full.

Jensen was originally given a suspended 232-day jail term by Ipswich Crown Court in 2014 after hearing that he spent thousands of pounds he cheated from fraudulent benefits claims.

He received housing and council tax benefits of nearly £40,000, but did not reveal he and his wife were on pensions from Denmark and that he held several company directorships.

Jensen was convicted after an investigation led by Ipswich Borough Council’s anti-fraud team, acting on behalf of partner councils in Suffolk.

Councillor Peter Patrick, who is Babergh cabinet member for Organisational Delivery/Finance, said: “We have a zero tolerance policy towards fraud in Babergh and we are indebted to the Asset Confiscation Enforcement (ACE) team for its dogged perseverance in recovering this money. People who cheat councils are cheating their neighbours and other residents out of hard-earned taxes. Wherever possible we will go after these people and recover our money.”

ACE is part of the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU). Its Financial Investigation Manager, Nick Bentley, said: “When a defendant has a confiscation order made against them the Judge will attach a period of imprisonment to be served if the individual fails to pay, in this case the magistrates were left with little option but to activate the default term of 232 days imprisonment. Any defendant in this position would still owe the money when released with added interest, so it is not unsurprising that Kai Jensen made arrangements after three days in prison to pay the full amount to gain his release.”

Councillor Martin Cook, IBC’s Resources portfolio-holder. He said: “Ipswich led the original investigation that led to Jensen’s conviction. We want to reiterate that we will pursue benefits cheats whenever and wherever we can.”

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