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Benefit cheat sentenced by judge

Date: 08/10/2008           Category: Finance

A man from Rochester has escaped jail after falsely claiming £6,636 in benefits. Christopher Draper, 58, of Avery Way, Allhallows, was convicted and given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay a £5,000 fine within six months by Maidstone Crown Court on Monday, 6 October. He was also ordered to pay the £6,636 and £200 costs. Draper had pleaded guilty to one count of failing to notify the council of his change in circumstances having previously claimed incapacity benefit between October 2005 to April 2007. He had told officers at Medway Council that he was unable to work, but had failed to declare he is the owner of Medway Microlights in Burrows Lane, Middle Stoke. Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Finance Cllr Alan Jarrett said: “This prosecution sends a clear message to everyone that Medway Council will not tolerate benefit fraud of any kind. “It is completely unacceptable and we won’t hesitate to investigate, track down and prosecute those who cheat the system. “I would like to pay tribute to the council’s investigation and legal teams who work tirelessly to make sure benefits go to the people who really need them.”