Benefit fraudsters plead guilty
Robert Goldsmith of Woodfield, Banbury, failed to reveal that he was receiving a civil service pension when he made his benefits claims.
Between October 2006 and May 2010, the 65-year-old managed to claim £15,714.28 in housing benefit and £3,056.58 in council tax benefit from South Northamptonshire Council that he was not entitled to.
Then between April 2010 and March 2011 he made £3,150.15 in fraudulent housing benefit claims and between April 2010 and May 2011 made £1,019.65 in fraudulent council tax benefit claims from Cherwell District Council.
On Friday, 13 April, Banbury Magistrates' Court heard how he had used the money to help fund a particularly heavy smoking habit.
On the same day the court heard that John Donohoe, 60, of Golden Villas, Banbury, failed to declare capital which at its highest was double the £16,000 allowed.
As a result he claimed £12,738.85 in housing benefit and £2,890.99 in council tax benefit to which he was not entitled..
Both men pleaded guilty. Goldsmith received a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and a four-month curfew. Donohoe was sentenced to a total of six months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and a three-month curfew.
They were also ordered to pay the money back along with council court costs of £250 apiece.
Martin Henry, director of resources for both councils, said: "Housing and council tax benefit fraud is treated very seriously at both authorities and will be pursued as far as possible in all cases.
"Dishonestly claiming such benefits is a drain on local and national resources and will not be tolerated.
"I would encourage anyone who is aware of any fraudulent activity to call the confidential fraud hotline."
Those with information about someone who is cheating the benefit system can call the confidential fraud hotline on Freephone 0800 716152 for Cherwell or 01327 322173 for south Northamptonshire.