Repeat benefits cheat Jean Thompson 'did not learn his lesson'
A BENEFIT cheat fiddled more than £5,800 in wrongful payments by keeping quiet that he was doing regular spells of work, a court heard.
He had a previous similar conviction, but failed to learn his lesson from his earlier brush with the law, Grimsby Magistrates' Court was told.
Jean Thompson, 41, admitted three offences of failing to notify a change in his circumstances affecting his entitlement to benefit, on dates between November 2009 and May 18 last year.
Eve Richardson-Smith, prosecuting for North East Lincolnshire Council, said the fraud happened over a "significant" period of time, spanning more than two-and-a-half years.
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Thompson previously lived in Eleanor Street, Grimsby, and worked periodically for Mourik Technicians Ltd, formerly known as Request Technicians Ltd, but also claimed benefits.
He wrongly received £2,415.99 in income support, £2,441.36 housing benefit, £483 in Jobseeker's Allowance and £471.25 in council tax benefit – a total of £5,811.60.
He had a previous conviction from October 2010 for similar matters, the court heard.
"No repayments have been made as yet," said Mrs Richardson-Smith.
No compensation was being requested, however.
"We will recoup the money ourselves," she added.
Lauren Fisher, mitigating, said the claim for benefit was initially legitimate, but Thompson hit problems because his work through an agency as an industrial cleaner was ad hoc and could be for only a few days or a few weeks at a time.
Because of the long delay in receiving benefit after doing limited spells of work, he was reluctant to keep signing off and then on again as a claimant.
By the time his benefit was in place, he had sometimes received another contract and had to sign off again.
"He knew his actions were wrong, given the fact that he has a previous conviction for the same offence," said Miss Fisher.
Thompson, now of Rawlinson Avenue, Caistor, had now signed off completely because of the delays in processing benefit claims and because he did not want to get in to any further trouble with the courts.
He was not currently working.
He had previously served in the Armed Forces for about six years, including in Northern Ireland and Bosnia, and was thought to be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, said Miss Fisher.
His previous convictions revealed that he had used a string of aliases in the past.
Thompson was given a three-month suspended prison sentence and 100 hours' unpaid work.