20 Dec 2017

Scaffolder was "disabled" benefit cheat

Benefit cheat William Marshall pocketed more than £50,000 in handouts - while working as a scaffolder.

The 64-year-old claimed disability living allowance (DLA) and employment support allowance (ESA) on the grounds he had arthritis and was working less than 16 hours-a-week.

But Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) investigators carried out surveillance and caught the defendant on camera as he worked as a scaffolder and lugged heavy poles about.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard the defendant had claimed DLA from 1996 and ESA from July 2013 to November 2015.

Prosecutor Alexander Pritchard-Jones said: “He was in receipt of ESA on the grounds of arthritis in his knee, back and shoulders. It was paid to him on the basis he was unemployed and not doing paid work of more than 16 hours-a-week. The DWP conducted surveillance and it transpired he was working as a scaffolder for more than 16 hours-a-week and the information provided on the claim form was wrong. The DWP say he was working competently and did not deserve the money he was receiving. The total claimed was in excess of £50,000.”

Marshall pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to notify a change of circumstances in relation to his benefit claims.

Stuart Muldoon, mitigating, conceded the offences were aggravated by the length of time over which the claims were made. He said: “The DLA was given for life - there was no annual re-registration. He accepts by returning to work and not notifying the agency he is guilty of the offences.”

The court heard Marshall - who has no previous convictions - has repaid all of the ESA payments and is paying back the DLA at a rate of £100-a-month.

Judge Paul Glenn sentenced Marshall to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months, with a rehabilitation activity requirement for 20 days and a six-month electronically-monitored curfew from 9pm to 5am.

He told the defendant: “You claimed benefits to which you were not entitled. You said you were unfit to work due to arthritis but when your circumstances changed you did not notify the DWP. Video surveillance showed you working as a scaffolder, carrying wooden boards and metal poles up and down scaffolding. Benefit fraud is prevalent. It is very easy to commit and very difficult to detect. The cost to the honest taxpayer is significant. You knew what you were doing. The DLA you were receiving was an additional tax-free income of about £3,500-a-year. You have come as close as anyone can come to a custodial sentence without going away.”

Source with video

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So if he hadn't returned to scaffolding, he could continue to claim DLA, although he is physical fit?