Benefit cheat claimed £30,434

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A man has been given a suspended prison sentence after fraudulently claiming benefits totalling £30,434 from Calderdale Council and the Department of Work and Pensions.

Alan Gengler, of Ashenhurst Road, Todmorden, pleaded guilty to two charges of benefit fraud after he claimed council tax and housing benefit and income support which he was not entitled to from July 2006 until March 2012.

Bradford Crown Court heard how the 56-year-old came into money after the death of an old lady which enabled him to remortgage his house and buy a second one intended for his son. However, he failed to notify Calderdale Council and the DWP about the change in his circumstances.

Rebecca Young, prosecuting, said Gengler’s original application was legitimate and it wasn’t until 2006 when he re-mortgaged his house at Ashenhurst Road and released £75,000 to purchase the second property that he fraudulently claimed money. Miss Young added that the authorities had continued to contact him to inquire if there had been a change in circumstances but he told them no.

Sarah Barlow, defending, said her client had not received any benefits for the last 17 months since the investigation but has managed to pay all the money back after inheriting money from a family death.

Judge Robert Bartfield said Gengler had been aware he was supposed to declare the money he had received and the purchase of a second property to the authorities.

Gengler was sentenced to three months in prison suspended for 12 months, given a curfew to run concurrently, pay costs of £445 and victim surcharge of £60.