A pensioner who owes a total of £38,000 in benefits he overclaimed is paying it back at £18.75 a week, a court has heard.
William Robinson, 66, of Mercer Street, Preston, has a criminal record for dishonesty offences dating back to the 1960s, Preston’s Sessions House court was told.
Robinson’s nine-month prison term was suspended for 12 months due to his ill health and age and he was given a curfew. But the judge, Recorder Simon Medland, said: “This case is so serious only custody is justified.
“We live in stringent times and the public can’t afford people like you taking money to which they are not entitled.”
Prosecuting at Preston’s Sessions House court, Huw Edwards said Robinson was convicted of benefit fraud in 2010 after over-claiming £18,000 when he was working 25 hours a week as a carer.
He has since pleaded guilty to four other benefit fraud offences, over claims for pension credit, housing benefit and income support over a period between 2009 and 2014, when he maintained a common law household in Woodrow House with his wife, a care worker, whom he wed in 2005.
The latest offences add up £27,000, bringing the total he had defrauded the public purse of to £45,000, he said. He now owes £38,000.
The court heard Robinson had continued to claim as if he was a “single man with no other income”.
Defending, Darren Lee Smith said he was in the process of paying £18.75 a week.