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By CHristine Cunningham, Norfolk pensioner must pay back £100,000
Thursday, August 2, 2012
A south Norfolk pensioner who was jailed for 18 weeks for falsely claiming council tax benefit and pension credit worth almost £100,000, has been ordered by a court to repay all the cash he took or face a further 22 months in jail.
Harvey Bush, 72, formerly of The Turnpike, Carleton Rode, but who is now living in Scotland, claimed pension credit and council tax benefit while not declaring his true assets.
Norwich Crown Court heard how Bush, while getting state benefits which were “means tested” bought a property in Scotland, which he did not reveal to either the Department of Work and Pensions or South Norfolk council.
The overpayment of funds between August 2000 and March 2010 amounted to £87,744 made by the DWP and council tax benefits of £11,389.
Bush admitted knowingly failing to declare a change in circumstances and was sentenced last week to 18 weeks in jail. A further hearing was held yesterday to confiscate the money which he was overpaid and at the hearing the court heard that Bush had assets well in excess of the nearly £100,000 figure he falsely claimed.
His barrister, Michael Clare, said that since the matter came to light Bush has repaid £5,441 to the DWP.
Judge Stephen Holt ordered that Bush repay the outstanding £93,692 in the next six months or face a further 22 months in jail in default.
He also ordered him to pay £500 toward the prosecution costs.
Mr Clare said that Bush had a number of properties and the money would be raised by the sale of a house.