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17 Feb 2020

Pensioner claimant didn't disclose he was working

A self-employed decorator from Southampton defrauded the taxpayer out of more than £35,000 by collecting benefits while still working.

Barrie King, 74, claimed pension credit and housing benefit despite taking on paid work as a painter and decorator.

In total, King pocked more than £35,000 in fraudulently claimed benefit over a seven year period.

Now King has been given a suspended sentence and ordered to complete unpaid work.

Southampton Crown Court heard King initially made the benefit claim in February 2012.

Prosecutor Tim Compton said King claimed Pension Credit, a government-paid benefit paid to pensioners to bring their weekly income up to a minimum amount.

The court heard King also claimed housing benefit, which is paid out by local authorities to help those who need it to supplement their accommodation costs.

But the court heard how King continued to file yearly tax returns to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) from his self-employed work as a painter and decorator.

Mr Compton said King was not entitled to either benefit as a result of his income.

Mitigating for King, Victoria Hill said King had no work on at the time he made the claim, but accepted that King continued to collect the benefits while working.

She said: “He tells me he just left things how they were and that he regrets not doing something about it.”

Ms Hill added that King was paying back £120 a month towards the housing benefit amount and £26 a week towards the pension credit amount.

In sentencing King, who pleaded guilty to two counts of benefit fraud, Judge Nicholas Rowland said: “What you did was to steal from the tax payer and people who need benefits to keep them going. Just think about what that money could have been used for.”

Hill was given an eight month sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work.

Source

One arm of the state knew he was working (HMRC). Another paid out benefits because he said he wasn't. How hard can joined up government be?

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