A MAN who admitted a £60,000 benefits scam has escaped immediate imprisonment because of his ill-health.
Ian Michael Parry, 55, from Victoria Road in Shotton, failed to report he had a British Steel pension.
Mold Crown Court was told he also failed to disclose his wife had started receiving a pension.
Judge Niclas Parry gave him a 12-month prison sentence but suspended it for a year.
He ordered him to carry out 300 hours unpaid work, the maximum time possible.
“That is how serious this matter is,” the judge said.
Judge Parry told Parry: “Let there be no doubt about it, this was fraudulent from the outset.
“You knew what you were doing, you knew there was an obligation to report changes in circumstances.
“You notified everything else but you always failed to report the pension.”
The four charges of benefit fraud, which Ian Parry admitted, in effect represented multiple frauds dating back to 2003.
Such offences had a starting point of 15 months imprisonment, with a range of between 18 weeks and two-and-a-half years, Judge Parry said.
“You need to understand that such offences are easy to commit and very difficult and expensive to detect,” he said.
“The cost to the public is enormous. The public pick up the tab, and lose out.”
But he said the defendant was a man of good character, he had pleaded guilty, the public purse was being re-imbursed and he had health difficulties.
In view of those health issues he said he would suspend the prison sentence.
Prosecutor Caroline Harris said Ian Parry failed to notify the Department of Work and Pensions that he was receiving a pension when he applied for income support and he also failed to notify the county council when he received housing benefit and council tax benefit. He later failed to report his wife Carol was eligible for a pension and the overpayment totalled £60,291.
Interviewed, he claimed he had been told by the benefits office that he did not need to declare the pension. He said he must have misunderstood.
The defendant was a man of previous good character, Mrs Harris said.
Oliver King, defending, did not mitigate when the judge indicated that he would impose a suspended prison sentence because of the defendant’s health problems.