£62k benefit cheat is hit with jail term
A PRISON term has been handed to a Swansea man who claimed more than £62,000 in benefits by claiming he was a single person when he was in fact living with his partner of 13 years and had two children with her.
Thomas Bray, 55, of Montpelier Terrace, Swansea, completed numerous claim forms for Jobseeker's allowance, income support and employment support allowance from the Department of Work and Pensions, as well as housing benefit and council tax benefit from Swansea Council.
In all the claims he failed to declare he was living with his partner, school teacher Gaynor Henderson.
During a joint investigation between Swansea Council and the Department of Work and Pensions, he initially said Miss Henderson did not stay with him permanently because it would have affected his entitlements to benefits.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
But later at Swansea Magistrates' Court Bray pleaded guilty to 11 charges of dishonestly making a false representation in respect of claims for benefit.
Despite being given credit for his early guilty plea, Bray was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison with immediate custody.
In sentencing, Judge Keith Thomas said that by dishonestly claiming benefits, he (Bray) had deprived others who were genuinely entitled to them.
In all, Bray unlawfully claimed £62,230.13 between March 2002 and November 2011, made up of £25,315.97 in DWP benefits and £36,914.16 in housing benefit and council tax benefit.
Tal Davies, investigations manager for Swansea Council, said: "As this case proves, there is no hiding place for benefits cheats because people who steal benefits are picking the pockets of law-abiding taxpayers.
"Due to the quality of the investigation and the wealth of evidence obtained, the end result is that both organisations have been able to bring the case to court.
"People who knowingly withhold information or deliberately fail to report a change in their circumstances and get benefit as a result are benefit thieves and we will target them with a full range of penalties."