NE Derbyshire benefit fraudster is sentenced

Law and order

Law and order

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

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

The court heard how the 60-year-old illegally claimed £20,215 of Council Tax Benefit, Income Support and Income-Based Job Seekers Allowance over two years by failing to declare he had more than £70,000 in undeclared bank accounts.

Mr Ward received a 12-month community order and must undertake 150 hours of unpaid work, at the hearing at Derby Crown Court yesterday. He had previously pleaded guilty to the charges.

Cllr Pat Kerry, NEDDC member for finance and economy, said: “This latest case once again puts the spotlight on the cost we all have to pay for benefit fraud, and underlines our commitment to take vigorous action against those who cheat the system.

“It highlights how benefit thieves disregard the system and take money intended for the most vulnerable.

“We will continue to investigate and take action against the culprits and, with support from our residents, we are closing in on them.”