|Man in Benefit Fraud|
|News - Community News|
|Friday, 07 September 2012 16:32|
Man in Benefit Fraud
A LLANELLI man has been given a suspended prison sentence for falsely claiming more than £17,000 in benefits.
Christopher Paul Hancock appeared before Llanelli magistrates accused of benefit fraud offences against Carmarthenshire County Council and Department for Work and Pensions.
Hancock, of Bryngolau, Dafen, Llanelli, pleaded guilty to five offences of failing to declare changes in circumstances under Section 112 Social Security Administration Act 1992.
The case was brought by the Crown Prosecution Service after a joint investigation by the county council and DWP.
Hancock had been awarded Incapacity Benefit on the basis that he was unfit for work. An investigation commenced in May 2011 after the DWP received information that he had been working. Further enquiries by the council and DWP established that 48-year-old Hancock had worked for various employers from 2007 onwards, including work as a warehouse operative and security work.
Hancock had also been claiming additional Incapacity Benefit on the basis that he was living with a partner. However, he failed to declare that he and his partner had separated in April 2008 and he continued to claim benefit for her until March 2011.
As a result, Hancock was overpaid £17,091.32 Incapacity Benefit, £251.22 Housing benefit, £39.09 Council Tax Benefit for various periods from September 30, 2007, to January 1, 2012.
These overpayments are all recoverable and both the council and DWP will take steps to recover the overpaid benefit.
Hancock was given a 51 week prison sentence suspended for 12 months, a 12 month supervision order, has to undertake 100 hours supervised community work, and was ordered to pay £150 costs. He also has to attend a future skills training course.
Council executive board member for resources Cllr Jeff Edmunds said: “The council is keen that people who are entitled to Council Tax Benefit and Housing Benefit claim what they are rightfully entitled to.
“But we are also determined to crack down on fraudulent claims. These offences take money from the public purse that could otherwise be used for funding essential services. It is taking money from every council tax payer.”
Members of the public can report any suspicion of benefit fraud in the county via the Carmarthenshire County Council Fraud Hotline 0800 – 801116 or via the council website.