Prison sentence for Stoke Gifford benefits cheat

Scales of justice.

A benefit fraudster from Stoke Gifford has been sentenced to five months in prison after being found guilty of fraudulently claiming £35,000 in benefits.

Troy Owen, 30, was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on Tuesday (19th March) following a joint investigation by South Gloucestershire Council and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Owen first claimed Housing and Council Tax Benefit from the council in 2009 while also receiving Income Support from the DWP. Owen was paid these benefits on the basis that he was a single person who had no savings or capital

A DWP investigation in early 2012 identified that Owen had apparently failed to report savings held in undeclared accounts.

When interviewed by investigators, Owen admitted that he had not declared his savings. He also admitted that he had not declared ownership of two properties and that his lodger was actually his wife. His claim to all benefits was found to have been false from the outset.

On 12th February 2013, at North Avon Magistrates’ Court, Owen entered guilty pleas to two charges of dishonesty brought under the Fraud Act 2006. He was remanded to Bristol Crown Court, where, on 19th March he was sentenced to five months imprisonment.

Summing up, His Honour Judge Julian Lambert commented:

“You cynically cheated the public purse and fraud of this sort has a corrosive effect on society.”

Owen had been overpaid £16,487.08 Housing Benefit and £3,157.68 Council Tax Benefit for the period 17th July 2009 to 6th November 2011, and £15,732.26 Income Support for the period 30th April 2008 to 1st October 2011.

A Proceeds of Crime hearing will be held later with a view to recovering the overpaid benefits.

Source: Press release from South Gloucestershire Council

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