16 Apr 2018

Benefits cheat 'didn't want to pay for rent'

A benefits cheat failed to declare he had thousands of pounds in savings because he “didn’t want to pay his rent”.

Ronald Eagleson was given a total of more than £12,000 in Housing Benefit and Employment Support over three-and-a-half years, despite having cash secretly stashed in bank accounts.

The 64-year-old was finally investigated by the Department for Works and Pensions but, when asked about his bank statements, he initially denied they were his.

A court was told that, when he was eventually shown an up-to-date Schedule of Capital Assets, Eagleson knew the game was up and finally came clean.

And, when officers asked if the reason he failed to declare his savings was because he wanted to carry on receiving Housing Benefit so his rent would be paid, Eagleson replied: “Probably”.

Now, Eagleson, from Newcastle, has been ordered to do unpaid work after he pleaded guilty to two counts of dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances affecting entitlement to social security.

Laura Croft, prosecuting at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, said Eagleson failed to declare his savings or that he was getting a pension between August 2013 and January 2017 and so received benefits he was not entitled to.

An investigation was launched and he was subsequently interviewed in March and July 2017.

Miss Croft said: “In March, the defendant said bank statements he was shown didn’t belong to him. He was asked about an offshore account but said it was a debt that he owed someone overseas. He said he closed the account and gave the money to his daughter.

“In the July interview, the defendant was shown an up-to-date Schedule of Capital Assets and he did then make admissions. He was asked if he did it because he wanted his rent to be paid. He replied “Probably”. The defendant didn’t declare that he had savings or that he was getting a pension. He now accepts he lied about the fact he had capital in his account.”

The court was told Eagleson, who has no past convictions, had savings of at least £16,000.

Emma Silburn, mitigating, said Eagleson had worked all his life and had spent a period of time in the Armed Forces.

The solicitor added: “He made full and frank admissions and pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity.”

The court was told arrangements had been made between Eagleson, the Department for Works and Pensions and Newcastle City Council to pay back the £12,724 he had dishonestly claimed.

Magistrates gave him a 12-month community order, with 100 hours of unpaid work, and told him to pay £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

Source with picture


Anonymous said...

In the mid Eighties I was starting a small factory and trying to build a stable production team with some difficulty. A high proportion of the youngsters were very wise in the ways of what they called "The Social" and had been used to working intermittently for "cash in hand" with social security as a basic income. They did not really see why they should contribute National Insurance and income tax. which was part of regular employment.

Amidst this eye-opening learning experience, two pleasant young lads stick in my mind. They were great friends. They found that they could each go separately to " The Social" and claim they had been thrown out of their respective homes. They could then obtain a housing allowance to go and live in each other's homes with the rent paid by the state. I don"t know how long it lasted. People came and went quite quickly until we established our team.

Anonymous said...

Its more subtle these days, they still work cash in hand but they declare the minimum number of hours - 16 for a single parent, 24 for a couple. They have wage slips confirming this - never any overtime, sick pay, etc. Often for small business such as takeaways. HMRC don't bother to investigate they just pay out tax credits.