Pensioner admits he is ‘guilty as hell’ over fraud

Preston Crown Court

Preston Crown Court

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A Leyland pensioner admitted he was ‘guilty as hell’ during a probe into a £58,000 benefits fraud.

James McClumpha, 71, of Broadfield Drive, Leyland, claimed tens of thousands of pounds of benefits he was not entitled to over a seven-year period, a court has heard.

He admitted three counts of failing to notify the authorities of a change of circumstances and one of making a false statement to obtain benefits.

Preston Crown Court heard between January 2007 and August 2014 he received 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 Leyland taxi company, with her average income before tax being around £11,000.

Mr English added: “ In February 2007, the defendant signed a review document in which asked if he or his wife was working, and 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 was given six months in prison, suspended for two months, with 12 months’ supervision and must pay an £80 surcharge and £340 costs.