A 64-year-old benefits fraudster who claimed £68,000 by saying that he suffered panic attacks and was unable to work has been jailed for two years.
The Daily Mail reports that Kevin McEntee from Birkenhead on Merseyside pretended he was severely disabled to obtain the money – and also faked claims in his wife’s name, by exaggerating her own disability
McEntee told benefits officials that his disability had made him a “hermit”. He said that took two minutes to walk 50ft.
However, McEntee was a keen cyclist – and had even bragged to his sister-in-law that the Lycra cycling shorts he wore “showed off his physique”.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that McEntee had enjoyed up to three holidays a year in the Mediterranean, Brazil and the Caribbean – and he had taken some of the trips in the weeks before or after a benefit claim was made.
In 2013, he was filmed in Manchester “moving without apparent difficulty” and walking for half-a-mile, the court heard.
He had fraudulently claimed £48,000 in benefits he was not entitled to –
and had also claimed more than £20,000 on behalf of his wife, Pauline. In 2010, McEntee had completed the first of his wife's benefit renewal forms – and had claimed that she had “virtual incontinence” and was housebound. However, witnesses said that she was able to line dance.
McEntee had sustained an industrial injury in 1996 and in 2000, had claimed that – following a heart attack – he needed a walking stick, regularly fell and was not able to walk 80ft.
He had also told benefit officers that he that needed help with bathing, getting out of bed and help with cutting up his food.
McEntee was awarded disability living allowance (DLA) – and also had a blue disabled badge for his car.
The court accepted that McEntee had suffered medical complaints – including osteoarthritis, cervical spondylosis and depression. However, the extent to which these had affected his daily activities were “deliberately exaggerated”, the court heard.
On Tuesday (01/09/15), McEntee was found guilty of five offences of benefit fraud.
Judge Andrew Menary QC condemned how McEntee had “grossly exaggerated the extent of his difficulties”.
“You did so for the simple and dishonest purpose of taking advantage of a benefit to which you knew full well that neither you or your wife was entitled.
“Anyone looking at the forms would have assumed that they were dealing with a couple who were very seriously disabled,” McEntee was told.
His defence lawyer told the court that the benefit claim had not been fraudulent from the outset – and that McEntee was of previous good character.
The court was also told that McEntee had been bullied at school – and a custodial sentence would be “a shock”.
However, McEntee was sentenced to two years for fraud at Liverpool Crown Court.
Duncan Lewis Benefit Fraud Lawyers
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For expert legal advice on all benefit fraud charges, call Duncan Lewis benefit fraud lawyers on 020 7923 4020.
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