12 Feb 2018

Benefit cheat had £40k savings

A benefits cheat who conned taxpayers out of £30,000 left court a free man after a judge spared him prison.

Philip Edwards, 65, lied to authorities by repeatedly filing misleading applications for Employment Support Allowance and Pension Credit.

Victoria Shehadeh, prosecuting at Chelmsford Crown Court, outlined a list of dishonest applications the retired welder had made over a period of six years.

She said: “This was sustained and repeated fraud. The applications were made from 2009, spanning all the way through to 2015, with a total overpayment of £30,708. The defendant had a number of savings accounts in which he was keeping capital not declared.”

She added: “The factor which is most striking about this case, is that the defendant was interviewed not once, but twice by authorities. While he was relatively frank with the authority about what he had been doing, he then went on to make a final claim, which shows disregard for the benefits system.”

Edwards admitted five charges of benefit fraud, two relating to Employment Support Allowance and three to Pension Credit.

Christopher Whitcombe, mitigating, said Edwards, from Colchester, was remorseful and would “pay back every penny”.

He said: “He had around £40,000 in life savings and had worked full-time as a welder in Germany. When he returned to the UK he went to a smaller property and was subject to financial fraud. He lost a large amount of money due to false investments.”

Recorder Kenneth Carr sentenced Edwards to ten months in prison, suspended for 12 months and ordered him to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.

He said: “Over the course of six years you embarked repeatedly on a course of dishonest conduct, by which you received £30,000 from the state to which you were not entitled. That money is money allocated to the poorest section of society, those most in need.”


Benefit thieves do it for the money. They should have to pay back twice what they stole.

They should not be eligible for any benefits until they have, and they should have to do some unpaid work every week until the debt to society is cleared.

That would be a deterrent.

A confiscation order should be made immediately.

Hit them in the pocket!

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