Man who falsely claimed more than £50k in disability benefits avoids jail

A man from Staffordshire, who falsely claimed more than £50,000 in disability benefits has avoided a jail term.

Forklift driver Neil Sheppard told the authorities he could barely walk and needed assistance to prepare and cook meals.

After failing to tell the authorities he had returned to work, Sheppard went on to claim a total of £51,867 between 2001 and 2016.

Sheppard was caught after CCTV was recovered showing him walking around his work and climbing stairs without a problem.

The 54-year-old who has multiple sclerosis – and suffered a partial amputation of his left arm after an industrial accident, had been working since 1995 as a forklift driver.

He was handed a suspended sentence at Stafford Crown Court after the Judge agreed that Sheppard was of ‘previous good character’ and that he had failed to understand the importance of changes (in condition).

He added that he didn’t think that the case was ‘a concerted and protracted fraud’.

Afterwards, the Department for Work and Pensions said:

Only a small minority of benefit claimants are dishonest, but cases like this show how we are catching those who cheat the system and divert taxpayers’ money from the people 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.

– Department for Work and Pensions

Source: http://www.itv.com/news/central/2018-05-11/50k-disability-benefit-cheat-avoids-jail/

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