Cheater conned £64k in benefits despite earning up to £45k
FRAUD investigators caught a benefit cheat who fiddled more than £64,800 to which he was not entitled, Grimsby Crown Court heard.
Byron Scott, 53, of Barcroft Street, Cleethorpes, admitted nine offences of making false statements to obtain benefit and four of retaining a wrongful bank credit, between September 2001 and the end of 2010.
Robert Stevenson, prosecuting, said Scott had been claiming incapacity benefit for himself, a partner and a dependent child on the grounds he was unfit for work and had no other income.
But it was discovered that he had been working for several employers, including as a foreman, from 2001 and had been earning good money of up to £45,000 a year.
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He fiddled £31,628.16 in incapacity benefit, £14,198 in Income Support, £15,420.28 housing benefit and £3,624.83 council tax benefit – a total of £64,866.25.
During interview, he blamed "ignorance" for the frauds.
Craig Lowe, mitigating, said Scott had been repaying the money and offered to do so straight away.
He was truly sorry, accepted his actions were stupid, had not put forward any excuse and had said: "It's my fault. I'm guilty".
Recorder Paul Watson QC told Scott: "The sums involved in this case, in which you defrauded the state, are very substantial over a long period of time.
"I simply can't ignore the seriousness of your offending, repeated and persistent as it was."
Scott was jailed for eight months. After the hearing, John Carter, a Department for Work and Pensions fraud investigation manager, said: "No one should think they can get away with benefit theft.
"Our investigators track down those guilty of stealing money they are not entitled to, bringing them before the courts and making them face the consequences of their action.
"In addition to the sentence imposed by the court, the department always seeks to recover the money falsely obtained, to ensure that cheats do not benefit from their criminal activities. Anyone who suspects someone is fraudulently claiming benefits can call our national benefit fraud hotline on 0800 854440, open from 7am to 11pm, 7 days a week.
"Calls are treated in total confidence."
Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud said: "Benefit thieves are costing the taxpayer over £1billion per year.
"This money is intended to help those most in need – not line the pockets of criminals.
"We will continue to tackle this problem at the front line but also at the root by reforming the benefits system to make it less open to abuse.
"Universal Credit will simplify and automate the benefits system to make it less open to abuse and ensure this money is going to those who need it the most."