Man’s £3,000 benefit fraud to cover bills

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court

A man has admitted falsely claiming thousands of pounds in benefits because he was struggling to pay his bills.

Paul Newton, of Kipling Grove, Leigh, pleaded guilty to four charges of making false statements and failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) of a change in circumstance to claim Job Seekers Allowance (JSA).

Wigan Magistrates Court heard that the 43-year-old had been working occasionally while still claiming the benefit, resulting in an overpayment of £3,823.30.

Sarah Perkins, prosecuting, said: “There were four offences when the defendant reported that he was not in paid employment to claim JSA between April 2013 and January last year.

“There is evidence of the defendant completing forms confirming that if he gained employment he would notify the DWP but he failed to do so on a number of occasions.

“He was interviewed and shown a number of documents which he had signed. He confirmed that he had made the claims and it was his signature on the documents was not in paid or unpaid work and he would notify the DWP.

“He confirmed that he was aware of obligation to do so and admitted the offence.”

The court heard how Newton, who was unrepresented, had no previous convictions.

He said: “At the time I was on JSA and I was struggling to pay my bills with the money I was getting.

“I thought at the time a few days here and there and it turned out to be a lot longer.”

Newton, who was sentenced at the court yesterday, Tuesday, pleaded guilty to three charges of making a false statement to obtain benefits and one of failing to notify the DWP of a chance in circumstance.

He was given a 12-month community order with 100 hours unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £85 costs and £60 victim surcharge.

The DWP will claim back the overpayment directly.