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26 Dec 2017

Another pensioner benefit cheat nabbed

Benefit cheat pensioner Kenneth Hickman claimed more than £21,000 – despite owning a second house.

An investigation revealed the ‘greedy’ 69-year-old had a home in Bucknall valued at £184,950 while he was in receipt of both pension credit and council tax benefit.

Now the retired joiner has been spared jail as he continues to pay back the cash to the DWP and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

Prosecutor Brett Wilson told Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court: “When he made his application for benefits he had a property registered on Werrington Road in Bucknall. It had been marketed on at least two occasions from when he was in receipt and the value of that property was £184,950.”

The court heard Hickman received a total of £21,400 he wasn’t entitled to.

He went on to plead guilty to dishonestly making false statements for payment in relation to the DWP and city council.

Heather Drew, mitigating, said Hickman, had already paid back around £16,000. She told the court: “This was an early guilty plea and he was co-operative with the authorities.”

Recorder Nicholas Syfret QC said Hickman had lost his good character. He told the defendant: “A man of your age should not be coming before the courts. You quite clearly are remorseful. It was a greedy thing to do and you know you’re being exposed for your greed and everyone will know in times of hardship you have taken £21,000 out of the pot for people less well off than you. I have no doubt you’re ashamed of what you have done.”

Recorder Syfret sentenced Hickman to an 18-month community order with 120 hours unpaid work. He added: “You should repay the community for your wrong-doing.”

A DWP spokesman said the prosecution had been brought about due to Hickman’s failure to report ownership of a second property, and the rental income he was receiving.

He added: “The DWP has set in place recovery plans to recover all of the overpayment, a plan he is currently in compliance with.”

Source

Benefit fraudsters with assets over the limit should have to pay back twice what they stole. Money motivated them, so hit them in the pocket.

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