“Truth will out”…this was definitely true for a Bingo caller from Creswell, when he was prosecuted by the Bolsover District Council for wrongly claiming almost £13,000 in unentitled benefits.
Ricki Brooks,25, admitted three counts of benefit fraud from September 2009 to February 2013.
He intentionally omitted the fact that he was employed when claiming housing benefits, council tax benefit and Jobseekers’ Allowance.
Such dishonest actions will not go unpunished as Bolsover District Council’s Cabinet Member Cllr. Rose Bowler said: “This £12,966 is a lot of money, money which this person was not entitled to.
This is another example of someone thinking they are above the law and they can do what they want. Well we have news for people like this.
We will catch up with you and do everything in our power to make sure you pay for your dishonest actions.”
On 24 October, under Section 112 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992, Brooks was sentenced to 250 hours of community service. He was also ordered to repay the wrongly claimed benefits as well as pay a £60 victim surcharge and £40 in legal fees.
According to the government, fraudulent benefit claims cost the UK a staggering £1.9bn annually. In the past, benefits cheats were charged under social security legislation as in the case of Ricki Brooks. However, since September 2013 prosecutors are urged to charge these criminals under the Fraud Act. This means that welfare cheating would be ranked along with offences such as money laundering and banking fraud which could carry a maximum sentence of 10 years.
Jonathan Isaby, political director of the Tax Payers' Alliance said: "This is people stealing from taxpayers - stealing from vulnerable people.
"A message needs to go out that this is unacceptable and increasing sentences will act as a deterrent."
If you suspect anyone of committing benefit fraud please contact the council on (01246) 242444 or email email@example.com with details.