A DAD who cheated more than £32,000 of benefits has been jailed for 18 weeks.
Alan Parker, 32, continued to defraud the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and local authority between 2006 and 2009, despite being convicted of benefit fraud in 2007.
Preston Crown Court heard Parker was in an on-off relationship and started claiming housing benefit, council tax benefit and job seekers allowance legitimately as a single claimant.
But he failed to tell the authorities when he began living with his partner, the mother of his three children.
The court heard a period of surveillance revealed Parker was living with his partner and family at an address in Preston.
Alexander Rostron, defending, told the court Parker, of Lark Hill Street, Preston, had difficulty filling out forms, having left school aged 13 years old to care for his sick father.
He said; “He has buried his head in the sand when it has come to notifying the DWP when it comes to a change in his circumstances.”
Parker pleaded guilty to four counts of benefit fraud over the three year period on the basis he could not say when he and his partner had been living together or separately during that period.
Judge Christopher Alldis, sentencing, said: “You have pleaded guilty but against that background is the fact that on June 27 2007 you were convicted before Lancaster Magistrates of four offences of a very similar nature and dealt with by way of a fine.
“Despite that conviction you carried on, on and off, with your fraud until 2009. That is a serious aggravating feature in my view.”
The court heard Parker has started repaying his debt at a rate of £100 a month and has paid £400 back to date.
A spokesman for Preston City Council said: “We take benefit fraud very seriously and have many ways of detecting it.
We are pleased with this prosecution and hope it sends out a strong message that benefit fraud is a serious crime and you can go to prison.”
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