Electronic tag for benefits cheat
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Legal, Local Government
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A man who stole more than £15,000 in housing, incapacity and council tax benefit is to be electronically tagged.
Darren Rone, of Wheelwright Close, Worcester, was in work while making his fraudulent claims over a seven-year period.
A joint investigation by Worcester City Council and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) found that Rone began making his claims in 2005 but failed to declare that he was working for a variety of employment agencies.
Interviewed about the matter in April 2013, he admitted he had done the work and had failed to inform the DWP or the council.
Investigating officers found that the 49-year-old had received a total of £15,799.83 in overpaid benefits through making his false claims - £10,653.65 in incapacity benefit and employment support allowance and a total of £5,146.18 in housing and council tax benefit.
In his defence, Rone said at Worcester Magistrates' Court that because of his health problems he couldn't live solely on his benefits, so he had done sporadic agency work to supplement his income.
The district judge handed down a prison sentence of three months for each of the three offences, to be served concurrently, and suspended them for 12 months.
He also imposed a four-month curfew order between the hours of 8pm and 5am, meaning the crook will be electronically tagged and will have to stay in his home between those hours.
Rone will also have to fully repay all the benefits to which he was not entitled, plus £100 in costs.
Nick Jefferies, the council's head of revenues and benefits, said: “I am very pleased to see the court recognised the scale of the fraud in this case and imposed an appropriate sentence.
“We have a duty to protect public funds and benefits claimants also have a duty to notify us of any changes in their circumstances. I would also urge anyone who suspects someone of making fraudulent claims to contact us in confidence.”
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