Taibach dad-of-four falsely claimed more than £30,000 in benefits
A DAD of four who falsely claimed more than £30,000 in benefits over seven years has avoided a jail term.
David Evans had admitted 18 charges, including 11 of providing false information and seven of failing to notify the authorities of a change of circumstances, Swansea Crown Court heard.
Evans, of Brook Street, Taibach, applied for housing and council tax benefits from Neath Port Talbot Council in February 2004.
He failed to declare he had several bank accounts containing up to £50,000.
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From February 2004 to September 2011 he was sent 17 letters by the council reminding him he had to inform them of any changes in circumstances, but he did not reply to any of them revealing he had received a lump sum after his father's death.
Ben Blakemore, prosecuting, said: "This defendant had capital throughout the period in the range of £40,000. It would change and was being invested between several ISA accounts and other nest egg accounts within Barclays. There were large amounts of between £23,000 and £24,000 being transferred."
Evans, 56, claimed a total of £36,191. His applications were both false from the outset.
In his first interview Evans said he did not believe he had given any false information before admitting he had received inheritance money and had two extra accounts.
Evans later admitted he had received £50,000 after his father's death in 2008 and told officers he did not declare the money because he did not think it counted as savings.
Evans, who has no relevant convictions, had already begun repaying the money. Catherine Richards, representing Evans, said her client had always worked hard until he lost his job and became ill.
"He is a man who worked hard for all these years. He's not someone who hasn't contributed to society," said Miss Richards.
She said he had raised his children as a single parent after the death of his wife when she was aged 30.
"He is a man of modest means and lifestyle. He hasn't spent huge amounts of money and he hasn't spent this on a luxurious lifestyle. He is somebody who has, in effect, let himself down over these years and he is now ready to face the punishment," Miss Richards added.
Judge Peter Heywood said: "I accept this is clearly out of character."
The judge said Evans was "not a stupid man" and he had known how to invest the money.
"You clearly took an interest in the investment of that sum, setting up an ISA and moving money to obtain the best benefit," he added.
The judge then imposed a 52-week sentence but suspended it for 18 months. Evans was also told he will be made subject to a curfew for four months.