Benefit fraudster's taste of the cells

After falsely claiming nearly £24,000 in housing and council tax benefits

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A local man who falsely claimed nearly £24,000 in housing and council tax benefits got a nasty shock when he spent 50 days in jail on remand before receiving an 18 month suspended prison sentence.

Hugh Scott, 59, of Cathnor Road, Shepherds Bush, also received a 12 month supervision order, which means he faces being hauled back to court if he fails to report regularly to a probation officer.

Scott failed to declare a Transport for London pension of more than £1,000 a month which he had been receiving since June 1997. He had been claiming housing benefit and council tax benefit from March 1998 to August 2005.

He pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court to four counts of dishonestly making false statements in order to obtain benefit. He asked for four other charges relating to undeclared savings to be taken into account.

After the court heard that Scott had pleaded not guilty on earlier occasions, had a previous conviction for benefit fraud and had not repaid any of this overpaid benefit, the judge remanded him in custody for 50 days until sentencing, which took place on 11 April. The prosecution was brought by H&F Council's corporate anti-fraud service.

Cllr Greg Smith, cabinet member for crime and anti-social behaviour, said, "Criminals need to realise that if you try to defraud the system you will be caught and you will face tough penalties, including jail."

April 27, 2007