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Showing posts with label pension credit fraud. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pension credit fraud. Show all posts

26 Jul 2019

Benefit fraud OAP avoids jail

AN OAP who falsely claimed £23,000 in benefits has been ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work as punishment.

Matilda Gildea previously pleaded guilty at Dumbarton Sheriff Court to obtaining the money between March 2009 and June 2016.

Returning to court last week for sentencing, the 76-year-old was said to recognise “how serious it is”.

The pensioner had admitted failing to notify the department of work and pensions of a change in circumstances - that she was married and had a common household with her husband.

Gildea was originally charged with £47,138 in falsely claimed pension credit before the figure was amended.

Her solicitor, Jonathan Paul, previously told the court there was no “master plan” and that it was “stupidity on her part”.

At a hearing in June, Sheriff William Gallacher said the guidelines were clear that such a significant fraud must be punished with a prison sentence.

Mr Paul replied: “I don’t think she has long to live.”

But he pulled back, when challenged by the sheriff, as there was no medical back-up for the statement.

Last week, Sheriff Gallacher told Gildea: “This was a serious matter and you know that. I have to have regards to the community in general as well as your own interests.

“Having thought about custodial sentence, I have opted not to do that. I reflect your age and your own health.”

Gildea will be supervised by social workers for 12 months on top of the 100 hours of unpaid work within 12 months.

The sheriff added: “That’s not trivial. I have to reflect the very serious sum that the community did not have available because of your actions.”

Source

21 May 2018

Pensioner admits benefit frauds

A Southsea pensioner who fleeced the taxpayer out of more than £10,000 after committing benefit fraud for more than a decade has been spared jail.

Bernard Lee, 71, admitted three charges of making a false statement to obtain benefits with him pocketing cash he was not entitled to from council tax, pension credit and housing benefit.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard Lee had claimed for pension credits since 2006, despite having two occupational pensions.

He also claimed for housing benefit in the same year before receiving money for council tax from 2010. In total Lee, of previous good character, defrauded Portsmouth City Council out of £10,786.70 in overpayments he received during the period before he was caught, prosecutor Lucy Conroy said.

‘His first pension started before he made his first claim so it appears the fraud began at this time,’ Mrs Conroy said. ‘He has since made repayments of over £3,000 with more than £7,000 remaining.’

Judge Robert Hill sentenced Lee to three months in prison but suspended the term for one year. He said: ‘You were dishonestly claiming benefit for what you were not entitled to and you failed to disclose your pensions. You said you were only aware of making a false claim when it was pointed out to you. This was serious because it went on for a number of years, though the earnings were quite modest. You have started to pay some of it back after being caught, but there remains money which is still outstanding.’

Source

4 May 2018

Pensioner admits old benefit fraud offences

A pensioner who admitted receiving over £16,000 in benefits to which he was not entitled is to be sentenced at Mold Crown Court.

Terence Rhodes, 69, from Prestatyn, who appeared at Llandudno magistrates’ court, pleaded guilty to nine charges of obtaining council tax benefit by fraud, having failed to disclose that he was receiving a pension.

The offences occurred between 1999 and 2008. He also admitted one offence of claiming pension credit to which he was not entitled.

Prosecutor Rhian Jackson told the court that North Wales Police were conducting a Proceeds of Crime investigation into Rhodes’ affairs.

Rhodes was bailed to appear in Crown Court on May 24, and the magistrates ordered a pre-sentence report.

Source

27 Apr 2018

Former Dutch policeman in pension credit fraud

A former Dutch police worker has been convicted after fraudulently claiming £16,000 in benefits.

Agustin Ridderstap and his wife Jayne were sentenced at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court after admitting the scam.

Ridderstap, 72, admitted that he failed to tell the Department of Work and Pensions about a change in the Buckhaven couple’s circumstances between 2010 and 2015.

He failed to declare a pension that was being received by his wife and claimed the five-figure sum in Pension Credit.

His wife, Jayne, formerly of Alison Street in Buckhaven, pled guilty to a charge of allowing her husband to claim £6000 to which they were not entitled.

Defence solicitor Megan Davidson told the court her client was a 72-year-old man with no previous convictions who had lived a very “pro-social lifestyle”.

She added that Mr Ridderstap has been employed for most of his life including serving for the Dutch police.

“Mr Ridderstap has taken responsibility for this from an early stage and offered an appropriate plea in the hope that the matter would be resolved quickly.”

Defence solicitor Michelle Renton, appearing for Mrs Ridderstap, added that her client didn’t tell her husband about a pension she had been receiving.

As a result, it was not declared on a form for the Department of Work and Pensions. She added that her 70-year-old client was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

The court also heard how the couple had started paying the money back.

The duo narrowly avoided a custodial sentence and were instead handed restriction of liberty orders.

Sentencing, Sheriff James MacDonald said: “You appear before me as a first offender having pled guilty to an offence of benefit fraud involving a substantial sum of money. There can be no doubt that what occurred here was fraudulent.

“I take note of your previous good character and the positive contribution you have made to society during your working life. While I am considering the imposition of custody, I must consider the alternatives. An alternative to custody must in itself amount to a substantial penalty.

“I’m satisfied that a restriction of liberty order would be suitable and would be appropriate. I therefore propose to deal with this matter by a restriction of liberty order over a period of nine months reduced from 12 on account of the resolution which was proposed several months ago.”

Sheriff MacDonald told Ridderstap that he must remain indoors between 8pm and 7am for the first six months. Thereafter, the restriction order will only be in place on Monday to Friday for the remaining three months.

Mrs Ridderstap was also placed on a restriction of liberty order for a period of three months and was told she would be monitored electronically.

Source

26 Mar 2018

Suspended sentence for £56k benefit fraud

Great-grandmother Anna Sims wrongly pocketed £56,609 in benefits - after falsely claiming her husband lived in Spain.

The 72-year-old told the authorities that she lived alone in Bentilee and did not have a private pension.

But that was all a pack of lies and Sims swindled the benefits system for eight years.

Now the OAP has been given a suspended prison sentence and cannot leave her house from 10pm to 5am for the next eight months under the terms of her curfew. She is paying back the cash at a rate of £50-a-week.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard Sims had made a legitimate initial claim for pension credit in 2005, while living with a former husband, and the following year told the authorities she was now living alone. But she failed to reveal she was living with a new partner and continued to receive housing benefit and a single person discount on her council tax.

Prosecutor Joanne Wallbanks said: "In 2010, she completed a single person discount review form, saying she lived alone and her husband lived in Spain."

Sims pleaded guilty to three offences of failing to notify a change of circumstances and three charges of making a dishonest representation to obtain benefits.

Robert Holt, mitigating, said: "Mrs Sims expresses deep remorse for her actions and behaviour. She is well aware of what she has done. She understands the breach of trust she demonstrated by filling out the forms incorrectly and taking the money.  She has reached the age of 72 without appearing before the court, which is to her credit. She has now lost that good character."

Judge Paul Glenn handed Sims a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

He told her: "You never notified any change in your circumstances, and never did you ever tell anyone you were living as husband and wife. You lied on a regular basis and concealed the truth about your relationship. The public are sick and tired of people like you - benefit cheats. The activities of people such as you mean that worthwhile causes cannot be supported from public funds because they are diverted to pay for you."

Source with pictures

23 Mar 2018

Suspended sentence for recidivist pensioner benefit fraudster

'Persistently dishonest' pensioner Ellen Lowe wrongly pocketed £23,000 in benefits over a four-year period.

The 70-year-old told the authorities that she lived alone in Blurton and had stopped working due to ill health in 2008.

But it has emerged that the defendant's daughter moved in with her in 2011 and she currently works eight hours every week.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard Lowe:

Falsely claimed £16,268.29 in housing benefit between July, 2011 and November, 2015;
Falsely claimed £387.42 in council tax benefit between July, 2011 and March, 2013;
Falsely claimed £6,131.13 in pension credit between October, 2013 and July, 2016.

Now Lowe is paying the cash back at a rate of £25-a-week after she admitted two counts of dishonestly failing to notify a change in her circumstances.

Recorder Stephen Thomas told Lowe: "The total amount you wrongly claimed without telling the truth of your real circumstances was around £23,000.

"People who go to work are taxed for their money and people like you take it from them when you are not entitled to it and it is not the first time you have done this. You are persistently dishonest and on this occasion it was because you either made false representations or failed to correct representations about your position. I take into account your age but age is no bar to receiving custodial sentences in this court."

Lowe has been handed a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. She must also complete 200 hours unpaid work and pay £100 costs.

Stuart Muldoon, mitigating, had earlier called for the defendant to be kept out of prison.

He said: "She is 70 years old and not a danger to society. She takes the easy option when she is struggling financially and is paying back the money at a rate of £25-a-week through her state pension. She works eight hours-a-week and that is properly registered with the authorities. She is not in good health and works to keep herself active."

Source with picture

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.

19 Dec 2017

Pensioner in £50k benefit fraud

A Swansea pensioner who claimed her husband left home three days after they moved into a new house went on to cohabit with him for eight years and fraudulently claim £50,000 in benefits, a court has heard.

Audrey Jean Davies pocketed the money in pension credits, and housing and council tax benefits over that period.

A judge told the 77-year-old benefit fraud was a serious matter because people claiming money they weren’t entitled to meant other people went short.

Ieaun Rees, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that three days after they moved to their Penlan house Davies said her husband left. Davies made a claim for single person benefits but at some stage her husband moved back - the barrister said investigators were able to prove cohabitation between 2008 and 2014.

During interviews she denied cohabiting, but said the couple, who married in 1977, had remained friends after the split and she had allowed mail to be delivered to her address.

Davies had previously pleaded guilty to three counts of dishonestly failing to notify the authorities of a change of circumstances when she appeared in court for sentencing.

In total she fraudulently claimed some £31,793.28 in pension credits, £16,176.19 in housing benefits, and £1,706.20 in council tax benefits. The court heard she was paying the money back at the rate of £188 per month - the money being deducted from benefits she receives.

Craig Davies, for the defendant, said the claims had initially been legitimate, but that she failed to declare the fact the couple had reconciled. He added that she had a range of health problems.

Judge Keith Thomas told Davies she had defrauded the authorities out of almost £50,000.

He said: “These offences are serious because if people take money they are not entitled to, other people go short.”

For each of the three offences Davies was sentenced to eight months in prison, the sentences to run concurrently - at the same time - making a total of eight months, and suspended for 18 months.

Source with picture

16 Oct 2017

Benefit frauds ran for ten years

A retired nurse faked tenancy agreements to pretend she only rented her £400,000 home and cheat £66,000 in benefits.

Margaret Ayensu, 71, spent ten years keeping up her lie to claim pensions credit and housing benefit she was not entitled to.

As well as creating the fraudulent tenancy agreement, she faked multiple letters to support her claims.

Meanwhile Ayensu squirrelled away the government cash while living in a leafy lane on the outskirts of the well-to-do village of Storrington, near Horsham.

Ayensu was spared jail by a judge who showed her leniency because of her age and years of public service working as a nurse.

The former nurse was told she will have to repay more than £66,000 she fraudulently claimed after she admitted failing to correctly notify the Department of Work and Pensions of her circumstances, and three counts of using fraudulent documents to claim housing benefit from Horsham District Council.

Gareth Burrows, prosecuting, told Lewes Crown Court: “She claimed she had no income coming in and she was renting her property. She provided a rental agreement from a landlord in the name of Margaret McAlpine, but that was a name she had previously used. The property belonged to her. She claimed housing benefit from 2005 for the address that was in fact hers. She then subsequently provided a letter from a Cecil Grey confirming the rental. Again that letter was false. A further letter was provided in 2009 and that letter was on headed paper and again saying there was a rental agreement on that property. Again that letter was fraudulent. Whilst her deceit may not have taken considerable effort it was over a long period of time.”

Martin Williams, defending Ayensu, said she had fallen into financial difficulties after retiring and falling out with her daughter, but had not realised there were benefits available that could help her while struggling to meet mortgage repayments.

Recorder Tom Nicholson-Pratt told Ayensu: “If you had gone about this in a legitimate way you could have got some help.”

Agreeing to suspend the 12 month sentence he imposed on her for a year he added: “You come before the court for dishonesty over a considerable period of time, between 2006 and 2017. You provided false documents to support your claim. You must have realised as this was going on you could stop it at any time. But you perpetuated it.

“You are now 71 years of age and have some health concerns. I take the view that in the circumstances of this case I can suspend your 12 month sentence and there will be a rehabilitation requirement on you. I know you are not going to put yourself in this position again.”

Ayensu was ordered to complete 10 rehabilitation sessions and will have to reappear before the court on January 8 to ensure she has repaid what she owes.

Source

15 Sep 2017

Pensioner admits pension credit fraud

A welfare cheat who illegally received £13,204.32 in illegal over-paid benefits has been fined.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard how John Stoppard, 71, received pension credit benefit at Mansfield but failed to tell the Department for Work and Pensions he was receiving a second monthly Legal and General pension.

Prosecuting solicitor Sam Matkin said: “He was claiming pension credits which he was not entitled to which led to a £13,204.32 over-payment. He had received pension credit since 2011, for himself and this was on the grounds he only had a state pension and an occupational pension from Legal and General and he was paid by automatic credit to his accounts on the basis he had declared all his income.”

However, Stoppard failed to declare a second occupational, monthly pension from Legal and General from March, 1996, according to Mr Matkin.

Stoppard, from Muskham, Newark, pleaded guilty to making a false statement on or about May 5, 2011, at Mansfield, to obtain benefit by failing to declare the full extent of his pension arrangements to the DWP.

Mr Stoppard said: “I agree with the summary. I am sorry for what I have done and I am willing to pay it back. You do things and I just kept thinking I would never get caught and I got caught.”

The probation service explained that Stoppard worked as a miner for 32 years and has health issues including blood pressure problems, headaches and diabetes.

The court heard Stoppard has taken a job to pay back the benefits owed. Magistrates fined Stoppard £200 and ordered him to pay £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

Source

10 May 2017

Benefit cheat with £250,000 in the bank spared jail

A benefits cheat who claimed pension top-ups despite having more that quarter of a million pounds in the bank has been spared jail.

Frenny Doe plundered more than £30,000 in pension credits over a five year period after failing to declare the cash sloshing about in his bank account. But after hearing the 74-year-old, who lives in a mobile home, has paid back what he took a judge at Swindon Crown Court imposed a suspended sentence.

Chris Smyth, prosecuting, said Doe first made his claim from the Benefits Agency by phone in July 2010, continuing it until he was found out in December 2015.

When he applied he declared savings of between £4,000 and £5,000, which was below the permitted capital allowance. But in reality the former businessman had £256,995 in the joint bank account he held with his wife.

Doe admitted the money came from the sale of a property and claimed he did not think it counted. When it became apparent he would be prosecuted he said that the £32,061.05p he should not have received was repaid in full.

Doe, from Lydiard Plain, admitted making a dishonest representation to obtain benefits.

Delivering an oral report probation officer Karen Fowler said he told her the money had come from the sale of a plot of land in Winchester. It had been £600,000 but she said he had used some to buy a plot of land and mobile homes for his children to live in on the same plot as his. He had been informed by friends that he could claim pension credits, she said, and that he wasn't aware he had to declare the savings.

She said he had a number of health problems including diabetes and had stents fitted in arteries near his heart. Also, she said, his wife has had Crohn's disease, had been through leukaemia and thyroid issues and he has been her carer for many years.

Michael Butt, defending, said all of the remainder of the savings had now gone, much dissipated to his children, which meant he was now entitled to the benefit.

So you can give money away and then live on taxpayers?

But he said should his client be made subject to a curfew he had booked a cruise for next month.

I thought the rest of his savings were gone?

In the past he said he had run a pallet business which he sold up when he retired about ten years ago, Mr Butt said. He said that he resides in a mobile home and the cash hadn't been spent on lavish living.

Imposing an eight month jail term suspended for 18 months Judge Tim Mousley QC said "This is a serious offence, as all cases of benefit fraud are. I take into account that you are remorseful for what you did and that you cooperated with the investigation".

Source

18 Apr 2017

Plymouth benefit fraud couple told to repay over £32,000

A woman who claimed to be severely disabled while working in a bridal shop has been ordered to pay back more than £30,000 with her husband.

Christina Soulsby, aged 62, and Cyril Soulsby, aged 66, will have to sell a property to meet the debt or face a prison sentence, Plymouth Crown Court heard.

She pleaded guilty to an £11,000 benefit fraud after she was trapped by undercover surveillance.

Soulsby falsely claimed Disability Living Allowance on the basis that she had severe arthritis and other ailments, the court heard just before Christmas. And her husband Syd, aged 66, admitted fraudulently he had pocketed pension credit of more than £21,000 despite the fact that his wife was working.

They were handed prison sentences but summonsed back to the court under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Judge Paul Darlow ruled that Cyril Soulsby had to pay back £21,508 within three months or else face an eight-month prison sentence. He said that Christina Soulsby had to pay back £11,388 in the same period or she too could be locked up for eight months.

Mike Brown, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said their assets had been assessed as £59,000 each. He added they would have to sell property to meet the debt.

The couple, from Derriford, were handed a 26-week prison sentence suspended for two years. They must also pay £100 victim surcharge each.

Christina Soulsby worked at the Sam Cox salon in Southside Street, the Barbican. Investigators from the Department for Work and Pensions set up undercover surveillance outside the shop.

She claimed DLA without telling the DWP that her mobility had improved – allowing her to work. She also claimed Employment Support Allowance while failing to declare she was working beyond the permitted hours.

Source with pictures

30 Mar 2017

Serial OAP sponger jailed

Pensioner Alan Barlow dishonestly pocketed £93,659.90 in benefits after claiming he was living in Stoke-on-Trent – when he was really in Thailand with his new wife and two children. (h/t Tenancy Fraud)

The 67-year-old kept his Potteries council house as a 'bolt hole' and would return to the UK for NHS medical treatment.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard Barlow falsely claimed council tax benefit, housing benefit, pension credits and disability living allowance (DLA) for several years – and even continued after being convicted of benefit fraud in 2011.

Now the defendant is starting a 16-month jail term after admitting four further counts of benefit fraud.

Barlow was correctly granted DLA in 2005 after suffering from a number of health problems, including multiple sclerosis and chronic lung disease.

Prosecutor Richard McConaghy said: "The fraud comes from the fact that for the main part, at least from 2010, he was living in Thailand. He met his now wife there in the late 1990s and began to spend more and more time there."

The court heard Stoke-on-Trent City Council stopped his council tax benefit and housing benefit in 2008 because of the time he spent in Thailand. He successfully got the benefits reinstated after saying he had been unaware of a rule that prohibited him from claiming while spending a period of more than 13 weeks out of the country. But he continued to spend most of his time in Thailand.

Mr McConaghy said: "In 2011 he received a conditional discharge from magistrates in relation to benefits, for exactly the same reasons we are concerned about in this case, and for exactly the same reasons his housing benefit and council tax benefit were cancelled in 2008 – that this country was no longer his main residence. It didn't stop him. He married in Thailand in 2014. The relationship he had there involved two children – one of whom was adopted. His council house in this country was used as a base to get medical treatment."

Barlow pleaded guilty to three counts of dishonestly failing to notify a change in his circumstances, and one of cheating the public revenue.

The court heard Barlow has started paying the cash back - at a rate of £30-a-week.

Robert Holt, mitigating, said: "He had a desire to be with his family because he feared being alone. He thinks he has not very long left in his life and he wishes to die in Thailand."

The court heard Barlow is on the waiting list for another council house in the city.

Jailing Barlow, Judge David Fletcher said: "You were fully aware that by maintaining a permanent residence outside the UK that the claims you were making for four different types of financial assistance were fraudulent. Having been convicted, you simply carried on doing what you were doing before. You were perfectly content that the taxpayers in the UK funded your life, and that of your wife and children, in Thailand."

Source