Fraudster claimed £17k in benefits
A DAFEN man has been handed a suspended prison sentence for falsely claiming more than £17,000 in benefits.
Christopher Paul Hancock appeared before Llanelli magistrates, where he pleaded guilty to five benefit fraud offences against Carmarthenshire Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.
The court heard how Hancock, of Bryngolau, had been awarded incapacity benefit on the basis that he was unfit for work.
But an investigation was launched in May 2011 after the DWP received information that he had been working.
Further enquiries established that the 48-year-old had worked for various employers from 2007 onwards, including as a warehouse operative and in security.
He had also claimed incapacity benefit on the basis that he was living with a partner.
But 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 in housing benefit, and £39.09 in council tax benefit for various periods from September 30, 2007, to January 1, 2012.
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, Councillor 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."