Benefit cheat’s £70,000 savings

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A BENEFITS cheat who had more than £70,000 of undeclared savings has been sentenced to a 12-month community order.

Geoffrey Ward, previously of Alexandra Road, Dronfield, now of High Street, Clay Cross, received more than £20,000 in overpaid benefits from North East Derbyshire District Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.

The 60-year-old illegally claimed Council Tax Benefit, Income Support and income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance by failing to declare he had more than £70,000 in bank accounts. During a hearing at Derby Crown Court, it emerged he was overpaid by £20,215 over two years.

Ward was handed a 12-month community order and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work after he admitted failing to declare a change of circumstances, breaching the Social Security Administration Act.

Coun Pat Kerry, North East Derbyshire District Council cabinet member for economy, finance and regeneration, said: “This case puts the spotlight on the cost we all have to pay for benefit fraud.”