Wrentham man awaits sentence for £30k benefit fraud


Pensions - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A 76-year-old Suffolk man who dishonestly obtained more than £30,000 in benefits by failing to declare his wife’s earnings will be sentenced next week.

William Hope, of Mill Lane, Wrentham, pleaded guilty to three offences of dishonestly failing to notify a change in his circumstances which he knew would affect his entitlement to pension credit, council tax benefit and housing benefit.

He also pleaded guilty to one offence of making a dishonest representation to obtain pension credit.

The failing to notify a change in circumstances relating to pension credit took place between December 2002 and May 2014.

Godfried Duah, prosecuting at Ipswich Crown Court, said although Hope claimed the overpayment amount was £30,000, the benefit authorities would be seeking to recover £59,000 from the defendant.

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Judge David Goodin adjourned sentence until Thursday for a pre-sentence report.

He told Hope that all sentencing options would be open to the court but said the sentencing judge would bear in mind his guilty plea, his age and his previous good character.

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Steven Dyble, for Hope, said his client, who has no previous convictions, had made a legitimate claim for benefits in 2000.

He said Hope’s wife had subsequently undertaken seasonal work between April and July picking asparagus and had not worked outside that period.

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