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Man who used 15 different aliases jailed for £42,000 benefit fraud

PUBLISHED: 14:21 23 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:18 23 August 2019

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

A benefit cheat who used 15 different aliases falsely claimed more than £42,000 in benefits and admitted he had done it out of "greed", a court heard.

Darren Culpin, 53, of Selwyn Road, Gorleston, was claiming out of work benefits for six years, while he was in fact working for most of that period, Norwich Crown Court heard.

John Morgans, prosecuting, said that he failed to tell the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) that he had obtained work which resulted in a overpayment of £42,515 in housing and unemployment benefits.

He said some of the housing benefit was paid when he lived in the Somerset area, and the rest was paid by Great Yarmouth Borough Council when he moved to the area in 2015.

He said when interviewed about the matter, Culpin admitted he had buried his head in the sand and said he had done it out of "stupidity and greed".

Culpin admitted failing to notify the DWP of a change in circumstances between 2012 and April 2018 and was jailed for eight months.

Sentencing him, Judge Anthony Bate said he was a man who had used 15 different aliases with 17 convictions for 69 offences, which included a previous conviction in 2008 for benefit fraud.

He said the fact he had a previous conviction for a similar matter made it more serious.

Danielle O'Donovan, for Culpin, said that the claim had started out as legitimate.

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She said in the past he had suffered from a number of addictions including to drugs and alcohol, which he had managed to overcome on his own, but had then became addicted to gambling.

"He became a compulsive gambler," she said.

He said that he had now been getting help and was also now out of work, having lost his job after he was arrested.

She said he was hoping to get work again in the future so he could pay back some of the cash.

She said up until he lost his job he had been paying back £50 a month.

"He knows it is going to take a long period of time."

She said he had at one point sent a letter to the authorities to say he was working, in 2016, but it was never followed up.

"They did not follow it up but neither did he."

She said he wanted to work and said: "He will then be able to repay society."

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