Benefit cheat ordered to pay back £30,000

Court news.
Court news.

A man has been ordered to repay £30,000 after using another person’s identity to fraudulently claim benefits.

Leonard Sheppard, 72, previously of Field Street, Boston, was investigated by Boston Borough Council after getting information that he used another person’s identity to make fraudulent benefit claims.

Documents obtained by the council’s fraud department showed Mr Sheppard, now of Oxclose, Bretton, Peterborough, masqueraded as a different person and made false statements to get housing and council tax benefits of more than £30,000.

He appeared for sentencing at Peterborough Crown Court on December 5 and was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for 14 months and ordered to repay the full amount paid to him as a result of the fraud. He had admitted the offence.

Council finance portfolio holder Raymond Singleton-McGuire said: “This latest prosecution ends a successful year for our fraud department which identified and sanctioned fraudulent claims with a value in excess of £135,000 in 2013. We are confident we will improve on this success in 2014. During 2013, those who have attempted to fraudulently claim benefits from the council have been prosecuted, fined, lost entitlement to benefit and received criminal records.”

He added: “The hard-working taxpayers of Boston won’t tolerate those who try to cheat the system when there are so many in genuine need. We will continue our efforts to rid Boston of benefits cheats in 2014.”