A MAN has been convicted of fraud after admitting he wrongly claimed more than £10,000 in benefits.
Patrick Maloney was sentenced at Worcester Magistrates Court on Friday, February 21, after pleading guilty to charges of failing to disclose information.
From 2008 the 48-year-old from Belmont Road in Malvern, had been wrongly claiming Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit and from May 2012 Jobseeker’s Allowance.
But he did not disclose he actually had more than £16,000 in his bank accounts which would have made him ineligible for the benefits.
When interviewed Maloney admitted immediately he had not revealed the full extent of his savings.
A joint investigation between Malvern Hills District Council and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) found he had been overpaid £10,287.82 – £5,886.96 in housing and council tax relief and £4,400.86 in Jobseeker’s Allowance.
In sentencing Magistrates gave him credit for an early guilty plea and the fact he had already repaid all of the benefits which he was not entitled but it was recorded that Maloney had been sanctioned for a similar offence in November 2009.
He was sentenced to 12 months community service with orders to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work.
Maloney will also have to pay £85 in district council court costs and a £60 victim surcharge.
Nick Jefferies, partnership director of the South Worcestershire Partnership, said: “It is important that benefits are only paid to those who are entitled to them.
“This was a premeditated case, designed to defraud the taxpayer of money to which he was not entitled.
“This case sends a clear message that if you try to cheat the system when you claim benefits you will get caught.”
Residents unsure of whether they are entitled to their benefits can call Wychavon District Council on 03004 560560 for advice.
Anyone wishing to report a case of benefit fraud can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the district council on 01386 565280.