Worthing man sent to prison for £12,000 benefit fraud

A WORTHING man has been sent to prison for benefit fraud.

Kevin Power attended Worthing Magistrates’ Court, on Thursday (June 28) and pleaded guilty to two counts of dishonestly furnishing false documents and one count of dishonestly failing to give prompt notification of a change in circumstances.

The court heard Power, 52, of Marine Parade, Worthing, first claimed council tax benefit in 2008.

At that time he was also in receipt of job seekers’ allowance.

Car dealer

Following allegations of benefit fraud, a joint investigation was carried out by Worthing Borough Council and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

In June, 2011, Power informed the authorities he had set up a window cleaning business, the earnings from which he declared as being his sole income.

However, according to the investigation, Power appeared to have been trading as a car dealer since January, 2008, income which he failed to declare to either the DWP or to Worthing Borough Council.

The court heard Power held an account at a local car auctions and, during the time he was claiming means tested benefits, he purchased and sold 26 cars.

The undeclared income was held in bank accounts which Power also failed to declare to either the DWP or to Worthing Borough Council.

Between October, 2008, and August, 2011, more than £90,000 was paid into undeclared bank accounts held by Power.

As a result, Power received £1391.52 council tax benefit, and £10,669.46 job seekers’ allowance, making a total of £12,060.98 to which he was not entitled.

Sentence

Worthing Borough Council and the Department for Work and Pensions will be seeking civil recovery for the total amount of these over payments.

Power was sentenced to a nine-week custodial sentence.

Sentencing, the chairman of the bench said: “I have listened carefully to the facts of this case and I have noted the comments by probation, however, our view is that these offences are so serious that only a custodial sentence is right.

“These are claims that were false from the outset and you knew exactly what you were doing.”