Burnley benefits cheat (65) had £100,000 in bank

Burnley Magistrates Court.
Burnley Magistrates Court.

A benefits cheat who had got £15,000 he was not entitled to had more than £100,000 in the bank, a court heard.

Richard Boughton (now 65) made a false statement to the Department for Work and Pensions to get income based employment and support allowance. He did not let on that he had more than the prescribed limit of capital, but the claim was not said to be fraudulent from the start.

He has not set out to defraud the government

Defence solicitor

Boughton, now receiving various pensions and who is said to have poor health, was given a suspended jail term after owning up to what he had done, at Burnley Magistrates’ Court.

The defendant, of Hereford Avenue, Burnley, admitted dishonestly making a false statement to obtain a benefit in Burnley, in February 2011.

Boughton, who has no previous convictions, was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for a year and was ordered to pay £85 costs.

The Bench said the fraud was committed over quite a long period, but the defendant did admit it in interview and had paid back all the money in full.

A probation officer, who gave the court an oral pre-sentence on the defendant, said he had very little insight into the offence, but accepted he had to be punished. She added: “He is adamant that he will not be claiming benefits in the future.”

Ben Leech (defending) said it was difficult for him to get his head around the position he was in, but he fully understood that he would be punished by the court and he needed to adhere to any punishment that was put forward. The solicitor told the court: “He has not set out to defraud the government.”

Mr Leech added the defendant was now in receipt of pension of £232 a week – made up of his state pension and two pensions from previous employment.