'Agoraphobic' singing benefits cheat swindled £35,000
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Communities and also in Legal
FraudImage: Fraud via Shutterstock
A pub singer who claimed he was agoraphobic managed to swindle £35,000 in incapacity benefits.
Paul Lewis, 49, told the Department for Works and Pensions that he suffered from panic attacks and found it hard to leave his home.
However, in reality the fraudster made regular appearances on stage as guitarist and singer 'Paul Rio'.
Lewis earned up to £200 a week from singing in pubs whilst he helped himself to thousands of pounds in taxpayers' cash.
During the trial at Swansea Crown Court, prosecutor Craig Jones, said: "As Paul Lewis, he claimed he was housebound. But as Paul Rio, he was on the books of five different entertainment agencies performing in pub and clubs."
"DWP investigators found promotional material showing Lewis on stage when he was telling them he was unable to leave his house."
The crook, of Somerset Place, Swansea, admitted nine sample offences of fraud.
The court heard that DWP investigators found promotional material showing the conman on stage whilst he claimed he was housebound.
Amazingly, Lewis claimed the posters had been “doctored” and that someone had transposed his face onto them.
Judge Chris Vosper jailed Lewis for 20 weeks, suspended for 18 months.