Brierfield benefits cheat claimed £18,000

A BENEFITS cheat got more than £18,000 of taxpayers' cash while he put almost £80,000 in the bank, a court heard.

Nasir Mahmood, 44, was receiving income support and council tax benefits he wasn't entitled to, as he was stashing money away in several accounts He claimed it wasn't his and some of the cash was his mother's, as she didn't know if she could have that amount and claim handouts. But, neither a judge nor magistrates believed him and he was convicted after the six-and-a -half year fraud.

Burnley Crown Court was told Mahmood was now repaying the money - but out of his benefits and not his savings and a judge said :" It's still the taxpayer repaying the taxpayer." The defendant, who is in a wheelchair, receives disability living allowance. He will face a Proceeds of Crime Hearing.

Mahmood was spared immediate jail by Judge Beverley Lunt, who slammed his behaviour as " thoroughly dishonest " but said the prison system wasn't " geared up" to look after him.

The defendant, of Taylor Street, Brierfield, had been found guilty by the lower court of two counts of failing to notify a change in circumstances, to the Department for Work and Pensions and Pendle Borough Council, between January 2006 and July 2012 and had been committed to the crown court for sentence. He appealed against the conviction there, but the appeal was dismissed.Mahmood, who had no previous convictions, received four months in prison, suspended for a year.

Roger Baldwin, prosecuting, said Mahmood did not tell the DWP or Pendle Council he had capital in excess of the permitted amount. He was overpaid £11,806 in income support and £6,579.24 in council tax benefit.

The total overpayment was £18,385.35. He was now paying that back at £200 a month.

George Matthews, for Mahmood, said: "He accepts he made a mistake. He says this was a genuine error on his part."

Sentencing, Judge Lunt said: "You were thoroughly dishonest about this matter. If you were fit and healthy, I would probably send you to prison, but you are far from being healthy and the prison system does not have the facilities to care for you. I am satisfied you will not be committing any further offences."

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