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Watford benefit cheat John Kelly dodges jail due to ill health
Benefit cheat John Kelly's ill health kept him out of jail yesterday even though he has falsely claimed almost £50,000.
Kelly, 51, did not tell the council and the Department Work of Pensions that he had been getting £550 a month in rent from his flat in Milton Street, Watford.
Prosecutor Andel Singh told St Albans Crown Court Kelly first made a legitimate claim for Housing and Council Tax benefit and Employment Support Allowance in 2005.
But from December 2008 he began receiving rent, which he should have declared. In all he had overpayments of £31,603 in Housing Benefit, £4,396 in Council Tax Benefit and £13,334 in Employment Support Allowance. The total was £49,333.40.
He is now having £36 deducted a fortnight from his benefits and has voluntarily agreed to pay back another £40 a month.
Kelly pleaded guilty to six counts of dishonestly making a false statement.
Sohail Bashir, defending, said Kelly suffered deteriorating health. He had worked as a chef before becoming the victim of a serious assault. He suffers from a fractured bone in his face, serious leg injuries and depression.
Judge Andrew Bright QC passed a six month jail sentence suspended for two years.
He told him: "You deserve to go to prison. You cheated local government and the Department of Work and Pensions for a substantial amount of money."
He said he was passing a suspended sentence because of his medical conditions.
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