Benefits man repays money after admitting £45,000 savings

A Kenilworth man has repaid more than £10,000 in benefits after being found with savings of £45,000 spread across 10 different accounts.

The two men pleaded guilty to growing cannabis
The two men pleaded guilty to growing cannabis

Steven James, 65, of Lancaster Place was also fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £500 costs when he appeared before a judge at Warwick Crown Court.

But he was spared a sentence of unpaid work after telling the judge he would have no spare time around caring for his elderly father.

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James pleaded guilty to two charges of making false representations to obtain a total of £10,356 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

During the hearing, prosecutor Paul Dhami said that when James had claimed for pension credit he said he was single and unemployed and had no other income – but he did not declare capital in various bank and building society accounts.

After speaking to an official from the Department for Work and Pensions in August 2012, he failed to reveal the existence of five building society accounts in his own name and a further five joint accounts with his father.

At that time there was just shy of £10,000 in the accounts – but by April the following year the total had risen to just over £45,000.

Mr Dhami confirmed an assertion by James, who represented himself, that the money he had falsely obtained had all been repaid.

Judge Richard Griffith-Jones told James: “You pleaded guilty to this at the first opportunity.

“The court must give you credit for that, and you have repaid this money now.”

He said he was considering ordering James to carry out unpaid work similar to voluntary charity work which the defendant said he had undertaken in the past.

But James responded: “I look after my father, who is 90, twenty four hours a day. I wouldn’t have time, really.”

Judge Griffith-Jones told him: “Because of your domestic responsibilities, which are considerable, I am going to fine you.

“I am able to take that course because of your previous record, your positive good character, your domestic responsibilities, your early plea of guilty, and because you have repaid the money.”