Man, 75, accused of dishonestly claiming £34,000 in benefits spent £400 on Waitrose Christmas shop
A 75-year-old Suffolk man who was allegedly overpaid more than £34,000 in benefits has denied being “deliberately dishonest” when filling in details of his income on a claim form.
Kaj Jensen allegedly failed to mention that he and his wife were receiving Danish pensions and that he had a private pension and held a number of company directorships, Ipswich Crown Court was told.
He also allegedly failed to tell the authorities about two bank accounts he had.
Giving evidence during his trial Jensen denied a suggestion from prosecution counsel Lynne Shirley that he had “deliberately set out to deceive” and was dishonest when he filled in a benefit claim form.
Jensen told the court that “dishonesty” was an alien word to him. “In terms of myself and my family, it is a word that would be completely out of the question,” he said.
“I’m not that kind of person,” he said.
It has been alleged that Jensen, of Whatfield Hall, Whatfield, near Ipswich, was overpaid £28,383 housing benefit and £11,332 council tax benefit.
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Miss Shirley has claimed that while receiving benefits Jensen spent hundreds of pounds on foreign travel, restaurant and hotel bills and shopped at upmarket stores.
Jensen has denied dishonestly making a false statement in 2007 in a claim for housing benefit and council tax benefit by falsely representing he had declared all income, directorships, pensions and bank accounts for himself and his wife.
He has also denied dishonestly failing to disclose information for the purpose of obtaining Discretionary Housing Payment and dishonestly failing to promptly notify a change in circumstances between June 2011 and June 2013 while in receipt of housing benefit and council tax benefit from Babergh District Council.
Giving evidence Jensen, who has no previous convictions and is representing himself, said that after filling in the benefit claim form he had telephoned a council officer with further information about his financial situation.
He claimed he hadn’t subsequently questioned the amount of benefit he was being paid because he found it difficult to understand the way it was calculated.
He said that money he had spent on items such as lighting for his rented house had been given to him by relatives.
He said he had visited Ghana to assist in a police investigation after he was the victim of fraud and trips to Denmark had been made to meet prospective clients when he was trying to set up a business.
He said trips to Hong Kong and Dubai had been financed by his children who were living abroad and had invited him and his wife to visit them.
He said he had spent £399 at Waitrose on December 23 one year because he and his wife had 12 family members coming to stay for Christmas and a £700 coat purchased from another store had been a Christmas present for his wife.
The trial continues today.