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12 Sep 2017

Pensioner jailed for benefit fraud

A Dundee pensioner who carried out a £43,800 benefit fraud has been jailed for a year.

A court heard that James Findlay claimed that he had no income other than Jobseeker's Allowance and no prospect of any future money. However, weeks later he received a tax-free lump sum of £54,000 from his pension scheme as well as regular payments from it.

Findlay admitted committing the fraud between 2010 and 2013. Dundee Sheriff Court was told he received £27,000 in pension credit and £16,800 in housing benefit and council tax benefit that he was not entitled to.

Depute fiscal Eilidh Robertson told the court: "When he made his initial claim on 13 January 2010, he was asked if he was receiving a pension from his previous employment and he said no. In 2014 intelligence was received that he was in fact receiving an occupational pension from Equitable Life. An investigation found that on March 22, 2010 he received a tax free lump sum of £54,181.11. He also began receiving his occupational pension on April 1 2010." Miss Robertson said Findlay did not inform the Department of Work and Pensions or Dundee City Council about his income.

Solicitor advocate Jim Laverty, defending, said: "Custody must be uppermost in the court's mind. He's a 67-year-old man who has never come to the attention of the authorities. He has contributed to society throughout his life. This lump sum came as a surprise to him. It was from a job he had in the 1970s and the pension company had spent some time trying to trace him because of his lack of a fixed address."

Sheriff Alastair Carmichael told Findlay: "Everything that can be said on your behalf has been said. You defrauded the public purse over a period of three years. It is in effect a fraud on society as a whole."

Source

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