Thorpe End man given curfew over festive period for £36,000 false benefit claims has confiscation hearing adjourned

Norwich Crown Court. Photo: Adrian Judd

Norwich Crown Court. Photo: Adrian Judd

A Thorpe End man placed on a curfew over the festive break after falsely claiming £36,000 in benefits has had his hearing to claw back some of the cash pushed back to a later date.

Michael Sexton, 62, claimed benefits and housing allowance amounting to £36,000 but failed to declare he had more than £52,000 in savings in his bank account at the time, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Sexton, of St David's Drive, Thorpe End, admitted failing to notify about a change in circumstances and in November was given a 12-month jail sentence suspended for two years and a 10-week curfew, under which he had to stay indoors between 5pm and 5am each day over the festive break.

Judge David Goodin told Sexton at the sentencing hearing that although he did not go out much, the curfew would act as an extra punishment over the festive season as it would mean he would not be able to have any nights out.

Judge Goodin also told Sexton it was a serious offence and said the false claims involved a lot of taxpayer's money.

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Sexton was back in court on Wednesday for a confiscation hearing but the case was adjourned for a further hearing on January 16.

His lawyer David Stewart apologised to the court for the delay and asked for the hearing to be adjourned.

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Juliet Donovan appeared for the prosecution and said that at the next hearing the court would find out if any confiscation figure had been agreed or if there would have to be another hearing in the case.

At the sentencing, the court heard the false claims had gone on for more than four years, and began when Sexton was left money for his children by his ex-wife who died and money from his late father, but failed to tell the Department of Work and Pensions or Broadland District Council about his savings.

The court was told that Sexton said he had overlooked declaring the cash as he saw it as his children's inheritance and did not think of the cash as his.

His lawyer Mr Stewart said that Sexton had a number of health problems and had since passed the cash on to his children in line with the verbal agreement he had made with his ex-wife.

He said that Sexton accepted he had made a grave mistake in not declaring the cash to the authorities.

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