‘Data match’ caught Clayton Brook benefits fraudster

Chorley Citizen: ‘Data match’ caught Clayton Brook benefits fraudster ‘Data match’ caught Clayton Brook benefits fraudster

A pensioner claimed more than £10,000 in benefits he was not entitled to, a court has heard.

Allan Clarkson, 71, of Carr Barn Brow, Clayton Brook, pleaded guilty at Preston Magistrates Court to dishonestly obtaining the money in housing and council tax benefit from Chorley Council.

He had initially claimed the money legitimately on the basis he had a low income and no savings.

However, the court was told that he continued to claim help from the council for six years knowing that his savings had increased to over the £16,000 threshold.

Coun Graham Dunn, who looks after benefit payments for Chorley Council, said: “The case of Mr Clarkson’s undeclared savings came to light through a national data matching exercise managed by the Department for Work and Pensions. This is the second case we have prosecuted as a result of this most recent exercise.

“Data matching is incredibly useful in the fight against benefit fraud. It highlights any inconsistencies between the information a person has given to different organisations or agencies.

“Housing benefit and council tax benefit are available for people in genuine need and I would encourage anyone to make a legitimate claim for help.

“However, anyone who is falsely claiming more than their fair share needs to understand, they are going to be caught.”

Preston magistrates took account of Mr Clarkson’s age and the fact he had repaid the overpaid benefit in full. He was fined £365 and ordered to pay the fine within 28 days along with a victim surcharge of £36 and costs of £85.

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