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Benefit fraud man given community order
1:20pm Tuesday 4th September 2012 in News
A REDDITCH man who had too much money to be claiming benefits has been handed a 12-month community order by magistrates.
Paul Lee, age 55 of Salters Lane, pleaded guilty at Redditch Magistrates Court on August 29 to four charges of falsely claiming £9,559.61
Jobseeker’s allowance, £8,236.21 housing benefit and £2,336.27 council tax benefit between June 2007 and September 2010, by failing to declare that he held capital above the prescribed limits.
The Department for Work and Pensions had been alerted to the offences by the results of a process called ‘data matching’, where different data sources are cross-referenced and any anomalies investigated.
Redditch Council was then invited to join the investigation in order for the full extent of the fraud to be uncovered.
After hearing the findings of a probation report, magistrates told Mr Lee that they had considered a custodial sentence because the offences were very serious.
However, they had taken into account his early guilty plea, that this was a first time offence, and that he has paid all of the money back and sentenced him to a 12 month community order with an unpaid work requirement of 150 hours. He was also ordered to pay £100 towards prosecution costs.
A council spokesman said: “This case again demonstrates the importance of declaring true circumstances when claiming benefit and reporting any changes as they take place.
“Failure to do so will result in having to repay any benefit claimed incorrectly and can lead to a criminal record. Anybody wishing to report a suspicion of benefit fraud can do so by e-mailing as much detail as possible to email@example.com or by ringing the investigation team during office hours on 01527 534011.”