Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WO to 80360, or email us
Kings Langley lottery millionaire, Edward Putman, begged for benefits to be reinstated, court told
A £5m lottery winner from Kings Langley splashed his fortune on property and sports cars while fraudulently claiming £13,000 in benefits.
Edward Putman, 46, struck lucky in September 2009 but continued to claim income support and housing benefits for more than a year, St Albans Magistrates’ Court heard today.
He admitted to dishonestly receiving £4809.18 housing benefit between September 2009 and October 2010 and £8,033.59 income support between September 2009 and May 2011 after failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the council of his windfall.
Putman enjoyed a champagne lifestyle, buying himself a sports car and a £600,000 detached home in Kings Langley while keeping his win quiet from all but a few people.
Suspicions were only aroused when the unemployed defendant attempted to buy his council flat in Hemel Hempstead from Dacorum Borough Council with £83,000 in cash.
A subsequent police investigation discovered a bank account containing £100,000 and records of £2.5m and £2.4m deposits into St James’s Place, a wealth management firm recommended by lottery organisers Camelot.
Putman was invited to attend an interview under caution during which he said he didn’t know what he was doing there but later admitted the offences.
Prosecutor Hita Mashru said the defendant “had no regard or respect for authority”.
She added: “At the time of the lottery win he didn’t want to have any publicity, one may say now that it’s very clear why.
“Clearly any publicity would have warned the DWP of this gentleman who shouldn’t be receiving benefits.”
In December 2009, after failing to attend a medical check-up, Putman’s benefits were suspended.
But the defendant wrote to the DWP in July 2010, begging them to reinstate the money, claiming he had no money in the bank, his rent hadn’t been paid and he was not able to eat.
The money was reinstated and backdated to the beginning of 2011.
“It is very clear he knew what he was doing, he has been totally dishonest even after his benefits were suspended,” Ms Mashru added.
“That would have been the right time to stop, because he knew he had won £5m.”
Paul Millan, representing Putman, said his client had repaid the full amount in the last 48 hours.
He said: “It is fair to say that these two offences were carried out as a result of dishonesty.
“It is a fraud on the taxpayer, it is a fraud on the state.
“He was one day impoverished and the next a man with substantial means.
“The defendant had a legitimate claim from 2000, nine years of legitimate entitlement to benefits, the offences were not fraudulent from the outset.”
In the hearing at St Albans Magistrates’ Court, court chairman, Georgina Palmer, said she did not believe the court had adequate sentencing powers.
A sentence will now be handed down to Putman, of Station Road, Kings Langley, by a judge at St Albans Crown Court on July 24.
Putman wore a grey waterproof coat throughout his hearing.
Afterwards he attempted to cover his face with the hood while leaving court, flanked by heavy-set men, and jumping into a waiting BMW.