December 7 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, August 15, 2013
A benefit cheat who was overpaid £32,000 after failing to tell the authorities that his wife was working has walked free from court after a judge decided not to send him to prison.
Father-of-two James Payne, 43, began claiming benefits in 2005 but two years later failed to declare his wife, Gillian, was being paid to spend time with an elderly woman who subsequently left her a legacy of £14,000, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
Payne, of Berners Road, Felixstowe, admitted three offences of failing to notify the authorities of a change in his circumstances between July 2007 and February 2010 in respect of Jobseekers Allowance, housing benefit and council tax benefit. Sentencing him to a six-month jail sentence suspended for two years, Recorder Patricia Lynch QC told Payne the offences he had committed took money from people who really needed it. “It is money that, at the moment, the country can ill afford,” said Miss Lynch.
Lynne Shirley, prosecuting, told the court that after it came to light that Mrs Payne was receiving an income Payne accepted that from July 2007 he had been dishonest in not declaring the money she was earning.
She said the total amount Payne was overpaid was £32,155.
Craig Marchant, for Payne, told the court his client had no previous convictions and had made voluntary repayments of more than £3,000.
He said Payne thought his wife was receiving money to buy things for the friend she was spending time with.
He said Mrs Payne was having treatment for cancer and was no longer working.