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Welwyn Garden City benefits cheat must pay back thousands of pounds

PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:09 25 September 2018

A Welwyn Garden City man who wrongly claimed thousands of pounds in benefits must now pay the lot back.

Paul James, 51, of Homestead Court, was caught out by a paper trail which proved he was working.

James had been claiming both housing benefit and Employment Support Allowance.

Between June 20 2016 and February 1 last year, he wrongly claimed £2,426 in housing benefit.

Between June 13 and February 27, he wrongly claimed £4,644 in ESA.

James failed to tell Welwyn Hatfield Council and the Department of Work and Pensions that he was working, which would have affected his entitlement to benefits.

A DWP spokesperson said: “Only a small minority of benefit claimants are dishonest, but cases like these show how we are catching the minority who cheat the system and divert taxpayers’ money from those who need it.

“We are determined to catch those we suspect of fraudulently claiming benefits by following up on tip-offs, undertaking surveillance and working with local councils.”

James appeared at St Albans Magistrates’ Court on September 7, when he admitted both offences.

He has been ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work over the next 12 months.

He must also pay victim services £85 and £85 court costs.

•Anyone who suspects someone of fraudulently claiming benefits can call the National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854 440.

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