Welfare cheat gets a suspended prison sentence after illegally claiming £4,258 in benefits

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A welfare cheat illegally claimed over £4,000 in housing benefits after he falsely claimed he was having to pay rent as a tenant at a private property.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on March 21 how Shaun Parker, 34, of Lilac Grove, Shirebrook, illegally claimed £4,258.68 in housing benefit between November, 2013, and October, 2015.

Prosecuting solicitor Justine Claxton said: “This case is prosecuted by the Department for Work and Pensions. It concerns a housing benefit claim made by this defendant when he was not entitled to make a claim between November, 2013, and October, 2015.

“This led to an over-payment by Bolsover District Council of £4,258.68.

“This offence is fraudulent from the outset and the circumstances are that Mr Parker made a claim for housing benefit to Bolsover District Council and that was made on the basis he was a single, male in receipt of income support and was paying rent as a private tenant and that he was not in employment and he had no other source of income.”

However, the truth was that Parker was not having to pay rent because he was living as a guest at his brother’s property, according to Mrs Claxton.

Mrs Claxton added that Parker supported the false claim by providing a false tenancy agreement.

He accepted to investigators that he had acted dishonestly by making a false claim and he admitted using a false tenancy agreement and he knew he was not entitled to housing benefit.

The court heard that Parker added that he had been struggling with his finances and he needed the money.

He pleaded guilty to dishonestly making a false statement in November, 2013, to obtain housing benefit by claiming that he had to pay rent.

Magistrates sentenced Parker to 12 weeks of custody suspended for 12 months with a Thinking Skills Programme and a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

Parker must also pay a £115 victim surcharge and £85 costs.