Braintree: Benefits cheat guitarist ordered to pay back �157k

A BENEFITS cheat who dishonestly claimed more than �34,000 while playing guitar in a band called “Shady Deal” has been ordered by a court to pay back more than �157,000.

Over a period of seven years, Anthony Jarrard dishonestly received council tax benefit, jobseeker’s allowance, income support and incapacity benefit without declaring he owned a house in Braintree, had thousands of pounds of savings and earned money from being in the band and teaching the guitar, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Jarrard, 49, was only caught out when he was arrested for shoplifting in Lowestoft in 2009 and was found in possession of a Halifax bank card in another name.

Jarrard, of Clockhouse Way, Braintree, admitted three offences of failing to notify a change in circumstances while claiming benefit and one offence of making a false representation to obtain benefit and was jailed in November last year for 12 months.

Sentencing him, Judge John Devaux described the defendant as a hoarder. “You weren’t driven by gambling or a drug addiction. It could be said your addiction was money itself,” he said

Yesterday Jarrard attended a confiscation hearing at Ipswich Crown Court where it was agreed by his defence team that he had benefited by �157,495 from a criminal lifestyle, which included having bank accounts in false names.

His available assets were agreed to be �163,960 and Judge Rupert Overbury made a confiscation order in the sum of �157,495.

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Of that amount �30,338 will be paid as compensation to the Department of Work and Pensions and �4,507 will be paid as compensation to Braintree District Council.

The court had heard that Jarrard had owned his own home in Braintree since 1998 and when he began claiming council tax benefit in 2003 he had �69,000 savings in his bank account. The ceiling for savings to claim benefit was �16,000.

Between 2003 and 2010 credits totalling �70,000 were put into Jarrard’s account and in March last year the balance had risen to �158,000.

Jarrard had claimed incapacity benefit in 2004 following an accident but despite saying he was suffering from anxiety and could not raise his shoulder, there were periods when he earned money as a guitarist and manager of a band called Shady Deal and as a music teacher and guitar repairer.

At Jarrard’s sentencing hearing last November, his barrister Christopher Paxton said Shady Deal played in local pubs and clubs. “They weren’t the Rolling Stones,” he said.

He said Jarrard lived a frugal and reclusive lifestyle and his claim for benefits had not been fraudulent from the outset.

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