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Illegal housing benefits claimant given suspended jail term after Council data spot

Last updated: 15/9/2023

Rushcliffe Borough Council has stated it will never tolerate fraud of any kind after a resident was left with a suspended jail sentence for illegally claiming nearly £20,000 of housing benefit.

Peter McConnachie, of Ling Crescent, Ruddington was prosecuted at Nottingham Crown Court on September 13 after the authority worked with the Department of Work and Pensions(DWP) to spot a data-match in 2021 that had seen him claim over three years of illegal payments when he did not declare his employment at a local pub and restaurant.

Failing to notify the Council of his change in circumstances in 2018 after over a year of correctly claiming the benefit, he continued to receive the payments after securing his job and was handed an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to pay £425 in costs and 100 hours of unpaid work.

The Council’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Finance Cllr Davinder Virdi said: “We will not tolerate fraud of any kind and have a duty to protect the public purse and wherever possible we will work closely with the DWP and other agencies to prevent any benefit fraud offences.

“The message is clear, never falsely claim benefits or you will face the consequences.

“This was a blatant decision by Mr McConnachie to continue to still receive the monies and yet work in a new role.

“It was his responsibility to be honest about his claim and on finding the breach following good work by our teams, we did not hesitate to work alongside the DWP to provide our documents and witness statements.

“His overpayments will now be deducted direct from his wages at his employer.”