“Guilty as hell.”
Those were the words of a pensioner to investigators probing a £58,000 benefits fraud.
He had by that stage been receiving housing benefit and council tax benefit since 1993 on the basis that neither he nor his wife was working.Richard English
James McClumpha, of Broadfield Drive, Leyland, was given six months in prison, suspended for 2 months, with 12 months supervision, after a court heard he claimed tens of thousands of pounds of benefits he was not entitled to over a seven year period.
The 71-year-old pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to notify the authorities of a change of circumstances and another charge of making a false statement to obtain benefits.
Preston Crown Court heard between January 2007 and August 2014, McClumpha received pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit overpayments totalling £58,020.31.
Prosecuting, Richard English said: “A valid claim for pension credit was made by the defendant in January 2004.
“He had by that stage been receiving housing benefit and council tax benefit since 1993 on the basis that neither he nor his wife was working.”
However, in January 2007, his wife began to work for a taxi firm in Leyland, with her average income before tax around £11,000.
Mr English added: “ In February 2007 the defendant signed a review document which asked if he or his wife was working. To that question Mr McClumpha had answered no.
“When interviewed under caution in August 2014 he admitted this was a false statement. He accepted he should have said his wife was working and he was ‘guilty as hell’.”
McClumpha has nine convictions for 14 offences, including dishonesty, but had not offended since 1982, the court heard.
He must also pay an £80 surcharge and £340 costs.