Community payback for £8,800 benefit fraudster

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With a second-hand car dealership worth more than £100,000 and six separate bank accounts totalling over £174,000, Colin Knight fraudulently claimed over £8,800 income support.

The 48-year-old also purchased his home in Hillend Drive for £32,000, while receiving the benefit.

Knight admitted receiving £8,835 income support to which he was not entitled between November 15, 2001 and March 27, 2009.

Hearing Knight had fully repaid the sum, Sheriff Donald Corke sentenced him to a 120-hour Community Payback Order, to be completed within six months.

At a previous hearing, prosecutor Mark Keane told how Knight had been running a second-hand car dealership, while claiming income support, and had income and assets of more than £100,000.

“He had also bought the property where he lives in Hillend Drive for £32,240, while in receipt of benefits and failed to declare that either,” added Mr Keane.

He said Knight had six separate bank accounts with £174,570.41 being transferred through these accounts between April 2007 and March 2009.

“These sums were also never notified to officials at the Department of Work and Pensions,” continued Mr Keane.

Knight gave police a “no comment” interview.

Solicitor Matt Patrick, defending, said his client saw his behaviour as “greedy” and realised he should have declared his assets.

“He took a risk of continuing his fraudulent claim, knowing the position,” explained Mr Patrick.

“Given the sum involved it is a very straightforward choice between custody or a community-based disposal,” conceded Mr Patrick.

The solicitor said Knight had transferred the house to his nephew, and was making about £60 a week dog-walking at the time.

Last Friday, defence solicitor Ross Dow confirmed Knight had fully repaid the £8,835 income support he obtained.

“He has had to cancel his wedding twice, as he has been prioritising his commitments,” said Mr Dow

“His personal life has been compromised,” he added.

Mr Dow said Knight had been of good behaviour during six months of deferred sentence and his “attitude has changed”.

Sheriff Corke told Knight: “You tried to maintain a false claim over quite a period of time and received almost £9,000 in benefits to which you were not entitled.

“Given that you have given it back, and have been of good behaviour, I feel able to deal with this by unpaid work in the community,” he concluded.