A ‘blatant’ fraudster who falsely claimed nearly £30,000 of benefits tried to conceal funds from the court even after admitting the offence.
David Bradley, 56 of Pippistrelle Close, North Leverton, near Retford, pleaded guilty to taking £29,913 - around £20,000 in employment support allowance over four years and just over £9,000 in housing and council tax benefits over two years.
Nottingham Corwn Court heard that Bradley received a mine-worker’s pension, had capital from the sale of a property, as well as compensation money from a work-related injury.
Bradley re-paid £26,500 in two lump sums in December, but still owes £5,457 in overpaid housing and council tax benefits to Bassetlaw District Council.
Hannah Whelan, prosecuting, said: “It would appear that Mr Bradley was moving funds about a month prior to the interview. It is a somewhat sophisticated fraud simply because money was being moved about and hidden.”
Matthew Smith, mitigating, said the defendant had serious health issues. He said: “I entirely accept, as he does, that what he has done since has been very a foolish attempt to keep money aside. The credit of his guilty plea has been tarnished.”
Judge Michael Stokes said: “This is a very blatant case. He has been playing fast and loose with the truth since he pleaded guilty at magistrates court.”
He told Bradley: “Over a period of years you fraudulently and deliberately obtained the best part of £30,000 you were not entitled to.
“This wasn’t someone legitimately claiming benefits and then failing to notify a change of circumstances.
“This was plainly deliberate fraud from the outset and although you pleaded guilty some time ago you actively sought to preserve the £26,000 by misleading this court.
“The only reason you are not going to prison is because of your serious health concerns. You would be a nuisance to the prison service given the numerous conditions from which you suffer.”
Bradley was sentenced to 15 months, suspended for 18 months, and must abide by a 90-day curfew between 9pm and 6am.
He was ordered to repay the outstanding £5,457 and court costs of £500.
The court heard that in he was given a community order in September 2015 by Pontefract Magistrates Court for making a false representation to obtain a benefit, and had numerous convictions for similar offences over a 30 year period.