An Aylesbury pensioner who claimed £40,000 in benefits despite having more than £100,000 in the bank has narrowly avoided going to prison.
Keith Bright, 65, of Carrington Road, told authorities he only had £5,338 in savings when applying for pension credit and council tax benefit in 2008.
But investigators found he had savings of £94,185 at the point he claimed.
He continued to deny the had capital in excess of the prescribed limit until he was shown bank statements.
By July 2013, Bright had £109,542 in his accounts.
He was overpaid £34,994 in pension credit and £5,337 in council tax benefit between 2008 and 2013.
Bright pleaded guilty at Aylesbury Magistrates’ Court to two counts of knowingly making a false representation to obtain benefit.
He received a 10 week suspended prison sentence and must carry out 140 hours of unpaid work.
He was also ordered to pay costs of £85.
Aylesbury Vale District Council and the Department for Work and Pension, which carried out the investigation, are in the process of recovering the overpaid money.
Councillor Neil Blake, leader of the council, said: “Benefits cheats deprive not only taxpayers of their hard earned money, they also reduce the cash pot available in the future for legitimate claimants, so everyone ultimately loses out. We will maintain a no tolerance stance against a tiny minority of offenders to protect the law abiding majority.”
To report benefit fraud, call the council fraud hotline on 01296 585570 during office hours or alternatively leave a message out of hours. More information about benefit fraud is available on the council’s website