Multiple Sclerosis sufferer from Holt given suspended sentence after fraudulently claiming £75,000 in benefits
PUBLISHED: 17:08 06 August 2014 | UPDATED: 17:08 06 August 2014
A Multiple Sclerosis sufferer from north Norfolk, who used a financial device to allow him to continue fraudulently claiming more than £75,000 benefits in Wales, has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Stuart Rose, 67, of Woodrow Avenue, in Holt, admitted seven charges of benefit fraud totalling more than £75,482, when he appeared at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court via a video link from Norfolk on August 1.
The charges of benefit fraud within Powys, in Wales, dated from March 1 2002 until April 30 2010.
They included failing to notify Powys County Council of a change of circumstances between April 1 2002 and April 30 2002 at Ithon Road in Llandrindod Wells, in that he failed to declare capital savings which would have affected his claim for housing benefit and council tax benefit.
He was also charged with three offences of dishonestly making a false statement to obtain benefits, at Welshpool between March 1 2002 and March 31 2008, when he obtained housing benefit and council tax benefit, and at Llandrindod Wells between March 1 2008 and March 31 2008, when he obtained Pension Credit Benefit, and between February 1 2002 and April 11 2002 at Llandrindod Wells, when he claimed Income Support and failed to declare capital savings.
The three fraud charges relate to incidents in Ystradgynlais from April 1 2008 and April 30 2010, when a claim for social care services and residential nursing care to Powys County Council contained untrue and misleading information.
Prosecuting, Lowrie Wynn-Morgan said on November 23 2001, Rose moved into Powys and made an application for housing benefit and council tax benefit. He said he was getting income support and disability benefits and had limited capital.
In March 2008 he was entitled to pension credit and his claim for benefits continued according to the information he declared to the Department of Works and Pension.
In February 2013, as a result of information received, Powys County Council launched an investigation which revealed that Rose had inherited £40,000 in February 2002, which he had not declared.
He said he had loaned £39,000 in 2002 to a trust he created and he said he had some savings but failed to declare he had £17,000 of bonds.
In April 2013 he was interviewed and confirmed that he had failed to declare this capital or to notify the authorities of a change of circumstances over 10 years.
The total amount overpaid including housing and council tax benefits, pension credit, income support, payments for care services and disability benefits was £75,482.94p.
Defending, Mr Clair said Rose was 67 years old and this is was first conviction. He said some of the overpaid money had been repaid, believed to be about £30,000.
Mr Clair said Rose had suffered with MS for 30 years and had experienced a rapid decline in his health in the last year so he had been wheelchair bound for eight months and needed hoisting and help with daily needs. He said it would be a challenge to meet his needs in prison.
Judge recorder Richard Williams said the court had to take a merciful course as far as sentencing because of Rose’s health issues and he gave him a prison sentence of eight months but suspended it for 12 months.
No community requirements were imposed and a confiscation hearing for the rest of the overpaid money is due to take place at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court on August 29.