A corrupt South Staffordshire cattle trader who received over £100,000 in an eight year benefit fraud by claiming to be crippled and jobless has been jailed which was hailed by the investigators.
David Millward, who took livestock belonging to local farmers for sale at cattle markets and at the same time was receiving disabled benefit claiming he could not walk more than 10 meters was jailed for 18 months at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
Department of Work and Pensions Fraud Manager Mark Pickering said after the case that the majority of people claiming benefits were doing it legitimately but such jail sentences sent a strong message for those who do not.
Millward, a farmer’s son claimed that he was unable to get into bed or tie his own shoe laces without help but was regularly seen herding up to six cattle at a time and standing unaided for four hours the court was told.
The 55-year-old benefit fraudster who lived in Oak Road, Brewood, and rented a 15-acre field in Coven channeled over £70,000 of the cash he secretly earned through the bank account of his daughter in a bid to escape detection, the court heard.
But when he appeared unexpectedly on crutches during a court case concerning mistreatment of carcasses of five calves in 2009 his fate was sealed.
The Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards department who had never seen him having trouble moving about were surprised to see him walk with support and tipped off the Department of Work and Pensions which started an investigation.
Staffordshire County Council’s communities leader Pat Corfield said it was a fine example of how different organisations could work together for the benefit of communities and bring people to justice who carry out criminal activities.
Millward pleaded guilty to illegally pocketing both income support and disability allowance between 2003 and 2011.
Judge Michael Challinor told him: “This was a cynical and planned crime. And he pretended to be suffering from a series of illnesses when the truth was quite different.