A man who fraudulently claimed more than £11,000 in benefits has been ordered to repay the money and do 160 hours of unpaid community work.
A court heard Peter Walton claimed benefits after telling benefit officials he only worked part-time and was on low income. But in fact he secretly had two jobs – one part-time and one full-time – and was also receiving a company pension he had not declared.
Walton, 63, of Queen’s Drive, Middlewich, pleaded guilty at South Cheshire Magistrates’ Court to two offences in relation to fraudulently claiming Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.
His offences related to his failure to declare a change in his financial circumstances and also making a false statement to gain benefit.
Magistrates sitting in Crewe heard (May 14) that Walton made claims with Cheshire East Council on the basis of his part-time earnings and low income. The information he supplied in support of his claim meant that he was entitled to assistance with his rent and Council Tax.
However, in August 2013, the Council received information that Walton had a second job which he had failed to declare. Further investigations revealed that not only had Walton failed to declare he was working full time but that, in addition, he also continued working part time for a total of 14 months.
Cheshire East Council’s benefit fraud investigation team also discovered that Walton had failed to disclose he was receiving an occupational pension at the time he was claiming benefits.
The court heard that Walton had fraudulently claimed housing benefit and Council Tax benefit totalling £11,532 between January 2010 and October 2013.
Magistrates sentenced Walton to carry out 160 hours’ unpaid work and he was told to repay the overpaid benefits. The prosecution was brought by Cheshire East Council’s legal team.
Councillor Peter Raynes, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of finance, said: “This was a shameless case of someone cheating the system to get benefits they were not entitled to, at the expense of taxpayers.
“This prosecution, and others like it, sends out a clear message that we are an enforcing Council and will take action to protect our communities from those who break the law.
“In the 12 months up to April 2014, we successfully prosecuted 48 benefits offenders. And, since April 1, the Council has already successfully prosecuted another eight benefit fraudsters.
“Benefit fraud will not be tolerated and we are committed to ensuring these offenders are brought to justice.”
If you think someone is committing benefit fraud, you can ring the confidential freephone fraud hotline on 0800 389 2787. You don’t have to give your name and your call will be treated in the strictest confidence.
Alternatively, you can report suspected fraud via the Council’s website at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk