Suspended jail term for £27,000 "scared" benefit fraudster
4:07pm Thursday 12th September 2013 in News
A 64-YEAR-OLD Cross Hands man has been sentenced to three concurrent 12-week jail terms, suspended for 12 months, after he admitted carrying out a four-year benefit fraud.
Edward John Dobbins, of Bryn Ffynnon in Pontarddulais Road, pocketed £27,779.07 between April 2004 and September 2009 by submitting false claims for income support, housing benefit and carers allowance.
Appearing before Llanelli magistrates, Dobbins appeared for sentence after pleading guilty to obtaining a money transfer by deception between April 30, 2004, and September 11, 2008 and dishonestly making false statements to the Department of Works and Pensions from May 21, 2002 to April 29, 2004.
Dobbins, who previously ran a business installing petrol pumps on filling station forecourts, also admitted securing money by false representation on August 7, 2008.
Dobbins admitted all charges when he appeared before magistrates on September 5.
Sian Vaughan, prosecuting, told the court that during his initial police interview, Dobbins had told officers that the error on his benefit application “had been an oversight”.
He then claimed that as time went on, he had become “too scared” to admit the mistake to the authorities.
David Elvy, defending, told the court that while Dobbins was “willing and able to do unpaid work” there was concern that his absence from home would unfairly impact on his disabled wife, for whom Dobbins acted as sole carer.
Deputy District Judge Neil Thomas said: “This case is made worse by the values involved and also made worse by the length of time the deceit continued.
“It is serious enough for a custodial sentence.
“The only question is whether you go to prison or receive a suspended sentence. It certainly crosses the custody threshold.”
After being informed that Dobbins had no previous convictions, Mr Thomas decided against sending him to jail.
“I have regard for your previous respectable life,” he said.
Dobbins was sentenced to 12 weeks in jail for each of the three charges, with the sentences to be served concurrently, suspended for 12 months.
He was also ordered to pay £100 court costs.
The court was told that repayment of the amount was being deducted from Dobbins current benefit payments.
“This is a serious case and you should have gone to prison,” Mr Thomas told Dobbins.