Somercotes benefit cheat fiddled £14K by lying about £47K savings
A 64-year-old benefit cheat from Somercotes repaid the £14,000 he fiddled by lying about his savings of £47,000, a court has heard.
Richard Bennett told the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) he was a widower and couldn't work because of ill-health when he applied for Employment Support Allowance in November 2015.
He disclosed bank statements to confirm he only had £8,648 of savings, and a year later claimed he had £3,338 left.
But DWP investigations revealed he had six bank accounts with £47,331 in savings.
Nottingham Crown Court heard he has since repaid all of the £14,196 he received over four years.
William Bennett, mitigating, said: "This is quite an old offence. He was interviewed in September 2019.
"He has had this hanging over him for quite some time. He is very, very concerned about the prospect of a prison sentence.
"He suffers terribly from injuries to his back after two industrial accidents which have progressively been getting worse. Thankfully the taxpayer is no longer out of pocket.
"He feels a real sense of shame. It is quite embarrassing for a man of his age to admit he has done something so stupid. He is suitably chastened."
Bennett, of Lower Somercotes, Somercotes, pleaded guilty to making two false statements, when he appeared at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates Court, on March 15.
Recorder Simon King said: "In my view a custodial sentence is unavoidable, but I take the view there is no useful purpose to be served by sending you to prison.”
On Thursday, he imposed two eight month sentences, suspended for two years, and ordered Bennett to pay court costs of £300.