North Devon benefit fiddler must cash in pension to repay the money

Exeter Crown Court

Exeter Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

A benefits fiddler from North Devon has been ordered to cash in his private pension so he can repay some of the £12,000 he claimed illegally.

Stephen Miller failed to tell the disability living allowance officials when new medication led to a dramatic improvement of his mobility.

He carried on claiming the benefit at the same rate, leading to £12,000 being overpaid over a period of three years.

He was prosecuted after a surveillance operation showed him moving more freely than the level of disability he had declared on official documents.

Miller, aged 54, of Mill on the Mole, South Molton, admitted failing to report a change of circumstance at his original case in 2019 and was conditionally discharged at Exeter Crown Court.

He was brought back to court under the Proceeds of Crime Act after a financial investigation concluded that his only asset was a pension policy.

Judge Timothy Rose certified the benefit from crime as £10,903.80 and the available amount as £5,451. He extended the normal payment period of three months to six and set a prison sentence of three months in default if he fails to pay.  

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Miss Emily Pitts, prosecuting, said the figure of £10,903.80 is lower than the amount he was overpaid because he has already made some repayments.

Miss Kelly Scrivener, defending, said the only available asset is a pension policy which Miller will only be able to cash in when he turns 55 in November.

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