December 10 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, September 14, 2013
A Felixstowe man whose “frugal” lifestyle enabled him to save £100,000 from his benefit payments has been prosecuted for failing to tell the benefits agencies about his savings.
Christopher Edwick had legitimately claimed benefits following a “catalogue of tragedies” in his life but fell foul of the law because he failed to disclose he had amassed “significant sums” of capital, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
Edwick, 57, of Chester Road, admitted failing to give prompt notification of a change in his circumstances between September 2006 and April 2012 in respect of income support and between October 2006 and April 2012 with regards to council tax benefit.
Stephen Rose, prosecuting, said that as a result of failing to declare his savings, Edwick had been overpaid £55,000 in benefits, which had now been repaid.
Sentencing him to a conditional discharge for six months, Judge Rupert Overbury told Edwick: “I understand the background to this case and I understand the circumstances and I’m not going to make your family life any more difficult than it already is.
“Prudent housekeeping in your case has been your downfall and no more than that.”
The court heard that Edwick’s family had been paid benefits over a period of years following a “catalogue of tragedies”.
“They elected to save rather than spend and there came a time when their capital sums, which were in a series of bank accounts, exceeded £100,000,” Mr Rose added.
Steven Dyble, for Edwick, said his client, who is unable to work because of a back condition, had a son with cerebral palsy.
He added: “If you reach a certain level of savings you have a duty to reveal it and your benefits either stop or are paid at a lower rate.”