Benefit cheat ordered to repay cash

By Nigel Slater Thursday 20 December 2012 Updated: 20/12 12:09

A BENEFIT cheat has been ordered to pay back thousands of pounds after being found guilty of fraud.

Jason Smith, currently living in Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire, was prosecuted after illegally entitling himself to more than £5,000 of tax payers money in relation to a property he rented in Swan Lane, Evesham until January.

At a hearing at Worcester Magistrates Court on Thursday (December 13) Mr Smith pleaded guilty to all charges after it was found he had been paid £5,263 in Housing Benefit and Council Tax and £703 in Jobseeker's Allowance.

The investigation found the 27-year-old had failed to declare he was working full-time from May 2011 to October 2011 and was living with his partner at the same address from March last year, who was also working during the period.

When interviewed in March, Mr Smith admitted he had been working and was living with his partner until his claims ended in January. He has since married his partner and moved to Leicestershire.

District Judge Cadbury sentenced Mr Smith to a Community Service Order and imposed an immediate ten-week curfew order from 7pm to 7am which will see him electronically tagged.

Mr Smith will also have to fully repay all the benefits to which he was not entitled to.

The case was part of a joint prosecution initiated by Wychavon District Council and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) whose prosecutors were awarded costs of £100.

Nick Jefferies, head of shared services at Wychavon District Council, said: "We consider benefit fraud to be a serious matter. People have a duty to notify us and report any change in circumstances when it comes to matters that might affect benefit payments, just as we have a duty to protect public funds."

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