Former Sony Erikkson IT guy Peter Holmes, 69, of Nelson Street, Preston, admitted he made a false statement to get a pension credit in April 2014.
The father of Preston’s benefit fraud received a £ 21,000 pension credit after lying about a second …
Preston Magistrates’ Court heard that his actions resulted in an overpayment of £ 21,317.13 from the Department for Work and Pensions.
Holmes failed to reveal that he had inherited a second property, his parents’ former home, which affected his claim.
Continuing, Catherine Ellis said: “This is a defendant who is accused of making a dishonest statement on an application for pension credits, as a result of which he was awarded £ 21,317.13 which he should not have received between July 2014 and December 2018.
“There were investigations that revealed that he actually had an interest in another property throughout that time. It was a property that was mortgaged and rented.
“It appears from the rental that the defendant was receiving around £ 550 per month.
“The property was worth £ 150,000 in 2014 when he applied for benefits.
The mortgage which appears to be interest only and financial information obtained for a Proceeds of Crime (POCA) enforcement indicated that it was ultimately sold in August 2020 for £ 128,500, of which some something of around £ 46,400 went to the defendant after he released the mortgage and paid the costs.
“And in fact, the defendant refunded all of the money and the court was told in February that the POCA claim would not be pursued.
“He initially claimed because there was a mortgage in place, he believed the property belonged to the mortgage company.
“It goes against the fact that there was a rental agreement.
She told the court it was “fraudulent from the start,” but admitted there wasn’t a lot of planning or complexity in the fraud.
In defense, Beverley Hackett said: “The journey from 2019 to today has been intimidating for this defendant, who accepts the wrongdoing that occurs but has also lost his good character.
“As Your Honor knows, the defendant arranged for a remortgage on his current property, ie the family home, so he was able to pay off the outstanding balance.
She added that he was now unemployed and had no savings on the £ 46,000 he received from the sale of the house as it was given to his son’s mother after their separation.
Imposing eight weeks, suspended for six months and £ 500 in costs, Judge Simon Newell said: “You procrastinated at first, but then pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
“Eventually all that money was paid back.
“You are 69 years old without a previous conviction. It seems to me, under the circumstances, that there should be a dissuasive sentence for others.”
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