Benefit cheat must repay thousands

First published in Southend
Last updated

A BENEFIT fraudster must serve a 200-hour community penalty and is facing a £21,587.82 bill and a suspended prison sentence.

At Southend Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, April 16, Thomas Lydon, 47, of Chalkwell Avenue, Westcliff admitted three offences under the Social Security Administration Act.

These were two counts of dishonestly making a false statement and one of dishonestly failing to notify a change in circumstances.

He was given a 16-week suspended sentence, ordered to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work in the community and to pay a victim surcharge of £80 - as well as having to repay the wrongly-received £21,587.82.

Mr Lydon started claiming housing and council tax benefit from Southend Council in August 2007 for himself, his wife and five children.

He ran his own business but later said he was out of work. No employment or income was declared for Mrs Lydon.

However, investigations revealed that just a month after this joint benefit application was submitted, Mrs Lydon had started work at a school.

Her husband continued to keep quiet about this from then on - even at a subsequent verification visit, and when he completed a change of address form.

Calculations then revealed Mr Lydon had been overpaid £21,587.82 of Housing and Council Tax benefit.

Sally Holland, the council’s corporate director for corporate services, said: “We are committed to paying benefits to those who are entitled to them, but we also have a duty to protect the public purse and take action against people committing benefit fraud.

“Benefit fraud is an offence. As this case shows, repayment of benefit is not the only action that the Council may wish to take.

“If anyone has suspicions over a persons entitlement to benefit they can call the Corporate Fraud Investigation Team direct on 01702 215254, or e-mail: counterfraud@southend.gov.uk

“All information received is treated in the strictest confidence.”

Comments (13)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

6:23pm Tue 29 Apr 14

boo beckett says...

A suspended prison sentence? How is that justified?
A suspended prison sentence? How is that justified? boo beckett
  • Score: 11

6:31pm Tue 29 Apr 14

Richy don't shine shoes no more says...

boo beckett wrote:
A suspended prison sentence? How is that justified?
Economics. Costs £40k a year to keep someone in prison. Combine that with the fact that the money won't be recouped and once out, the chances of getting back to work is minimal so another expense.

As they pose no danger, the sentence sounds adequate
[quote][p][bold]boo beckett[/bold] wrote: A suspended prison sentence? How is that justified?[/p][/quote]Economics. Costs £40k a year to keep someone in prison. Combine that with the fact that the money won't be recouped and once out, the chances of getting back to work is minimal so another expense. As they pose no danger, the sentence sounds adequate Richy don't shine shoes no more
  • Score: 14

6:45pm Tue 29 Apr 14

Adrenaline_Junkie says...

Richy don't shine shoes no more wrote:
boo beckett wrote:
A suspended prison sentence? How is that justified?
Economics. Costs £40k a year to keep someone in prison. Combine that with the fact that the money won't be recouped and once out, the chances of getting back to work is minimal so another expense.

As they pose no danger, the sentence sounds adequate
Well said. If you can get away with it why not. I love making money easily. Even if that's the illegal way.
[quote][p][bold]Richy don't shine shoes no more[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]boo beckett[/bold] wrote: A suspended prison sentence? How is that justified?[/p][/quote]Economics. Costs £40k a year to keep someone in prison. Combine that with the fact that the money won't be recouped and once out, the chances of getting back to work is minimal so another expense. As they pose no danger, the sentence sounds adequate[/p][/quote]Well said. If you can get away with it why not. I love making money easily. Even if that's the illegal way. Adrenaline_Junkie
  • Score: -18

7:17pm Tue 29 Apr 14

GrumpyofLeigh says...

Criminal bankruptcy? But living in Chalkwell Avenue, it shouldnt be too hard to find.
Criminal bankruptcy? But living in Chalkwell Avenue, it shouldnt be too hard to find. GrumpyofLeigh
  • Score: 9

8:43pm Tue 29 Apr 14

Keptquiettillnow says...

boo beckett wrote:
A suspended prison sentence? How is that justified?
Same as how many MPs ended up in prison?
Its wrong, double standards in this country.
[quote][p][bold]boo beckett[/bold] wrote: A suspended prison sentence? How is that justified?[/p][/quote]Same as how many MPs ended up in prison? Its wrong, double standards in this country. Keptquiettillnow
  • Score: 8

9:21pm Tue 29 Apr 14

Jack222 says...

I know jail costs about £45,000 a year but in this case I'd think about it as a warning to others...
I know jail costs about £45,000 a year but in this case I'd think about it as a warning to others... Jack222
  • Score: 7

10:10pm Tue 29 Apr 14

smiffy22 says...

Richy don't shine shoes no more wrote:
boo beckett wrote:
A suspended prison sentence? How is that justified?
Economics. Costs £40k a year to keep someone in prison. Combine that with the fact that the money won't be recouped and once out, the chances of getting back to work is minimal so another expense.

As they pose no danger, the sentence sounds adequate
You are forgetting the deterrent effect of a prison term. A harsh sentence might deter many other from making false claims, thereby saving money.
Regards,
Smiffy22
[quote][p][bold]Richy don't shine shoes no more[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]boo beckett[/bold] wrote: A suspended prison sentence? How is that justified?[/p][/quote]Economics. Costs £40k a year to keep someone in prison. Combine that with the fact that the money won't be recouped and once out, the chances of getting back to work is minimal so another expense. As they pose no danger, the sentence sounds adequate[/p][/quote]You are forgetting the deterrent effect of a prison term. A harsh sentence might deter many other from making false claims, thereby saving money. Regards, Smiffy22 smiffy22
  • Score: 3

10:12pm Tue 29 Apr 14

smiffy22 says...

Adrenaline_Junkie wrote:
Richy don't shine shoes no more wrote:
boo beckett wrote:
A suspended prison sentence? How is that justified?
Economics. Costs £40k a year to keep someone in prison. Combine that with the fact that the money won't be recouped and once out, the chances of getting back to work is minimal so another expense.

As they pose no danger, the sentence sounds adequate
Well said. If you can get away with it why not. I love making money easily. Even if that's the illegal way.
Because it's scummy, making working people pay for your easy ride.
Regards,
Smiffy22
[quote][p][bold]Adrenaline_Junkie[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Richy don't shine shoes no more[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]boo beckett[/bold] wrote: A suspended prison sentence? How is that justified?[/p][/quote]Economics. Costs £40k a year to keep someone in prison. Combine that with the fact that the money won't be recouped and once out, the chances of getting back to work is minimal so another expense. As they pose no danger, the sentence sounds adequate[/p][/quote]Well said. If you can get away with it why not. I love making money easily. Even if that's the illegal way.[/p][/quote]Because it's scummy, making working people pay for your easy ride. Regards, Smiffy22 smiffy22
  • Score: 8

10:38pm Tue 29 Apr 14

profondo asbo says...

chalkwell avenue benefits - got to pay the swimming pool heating bill somehow innit?
chalkwell avenue benefits - got to pay the swimming pool heating bill somehow innit? profondo asbo
  • Score: -1

6:33am Wed 30 Apr 14

the citizen says...

The fine should automatically be twice the amount fraudulently claimed. Jail will prevent them working to earn it. There should be more use of fines for "white collar crime". The important bit is getting the money back and attaching stigma to those who are robbing the system. Benefits are a safety net not a alternative to work and a means of income. Those getting certain benefits should automatically be required to do SOMETHING for the community to "earn" their benefit.
The fine should automatically be twice the amount fraudulently claimed. Jail will prevent them working to earn it. There should be more use of fines for "white collar crime". The important bit is getting the money back and attaching stigma to those who are robbing the system. Benefits are a safety net not a alternative to work and a means of income. Those getting certain benefits should automatically be required to do SOMETHING for the community to "earn" their benefit. the citizen
  • Score: 5

6:39am Wed 30 Apr 14

sesibollox says...

Months wages, boo hoo
Months wages, boo hoo sesibollox
  • Score: 3

9:52am Wed 30 Apr 14

pembury53 says...

Jack222 wrote:
I know jail costs about £45,000 a year but in this case I'd think about it as a warning to others...
a popular, but ultimately whimsical notion.... there are thousands at it, and a tiny few would even hear about this, or any other case, and less still be deterred by it..... the simple unpalatable fact is that criminals plan or intend not to get caught, and the vast majority don't.....
[quote][p][bold]Jack222[/bold] wrote: I know jail costs about £45,000 a year but in this case I'd think about it as a warning to others...[/p][/quote]a popular, but ultimately whimsical notion.... there are thousands at it, and a tiny few would even hear about this, or any other case, and less still be deterred by it..... the simple unpalatable fact is that criminals plan or intend not to get caught, and the vast majority don't..... pembury53
  • Score: 2

10:35am Wed 30 Apr 14

Howard Cháse says...

Rotten
Rotten Howard Cháse
  • Score: 4

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree