Pensioner who fleeced taxpayers out of £226,000 named on list of UK’s worst benefits cheats

Ian Burns
Ian Burns

An Aylesbury pensioner has today been featured on a list naming and shaming Britain’s five biggest benefit fraudsters who stole a combined £4.5m from taxpayers.

Ian Burns, 72, of Aylesbury, who claimed money using false identities, including that of a dead Irishman, comes in at number two on the list released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Investigators discovered that as well as claiming the state pension, pension credit and housing benefit in his own name, Burns also claimed the state pension and other benefits in the names of three other people, including that of a dead Irish national.

Over an 11 year period he claimed over £226,000

Other fraudsters in the top five include those faking identities, keeping secret bank accounts, lying about illnesses, and working whilst claiming out-of-work benefits.

The fraudsters gallery comes as the government has started the process of introducing single fraud investigations as part of the DWP fraud and error service.

The new approach brings together DWP, HMRC and local authority investigators into a single team, which the department says will allow them to focus on cracking down on a range of welfare benefits and tax credit fraud. Work and Pensions Minister Mark Harper said: “We know that it’s a small minority of people who try to commit fraud, but these criminals need to know, with the hardworking British taxpayer on our side, we are on their trail.

“Our fraud teams have the powers and technology to catch fraudsters, but we are determined to make it even tougher with a new joint approach bringing together investigators from different government departments and local authorities.

“And with universal credit, benefit fraud will be harder to commit in the first place and easier to detect, and we are calling on the public to help with the crackdown.”