Judge tells benefits cheat: Jail looms

BENEFITS cheat Julian Stewart illegally claimed more than £21,000 by falsely claiming his then wife was jobless.

But District Judge Peter Ward warned 40-year-old Stewart that a period behind bars was looming because he had committed the same sort of offence before.

The father-of-two, of Collyhurst Avenue, South Shore, admitted three offences of fraud dating back to 2004.

Warren Spencer, prosecuting for the Department of Work and Pensions, said that when making claims on behalf of his family Stewart said his wife was not working.

Mr Spencer told Blackpool Magistrates Court: “In fact his wife Julie Stewart worked as a telesales person earning sums of up to 1,306 at a time in commission from a power company and she also worked for Fleetwood Football Club earnings amounts from 18 to 338.

“When this man was interviewed about overpayments to him of 21,278 he accepted his wife had been in employment. He has a previous conviction for a similar offence.”

Mitch Sarangi, defending, said : “The figure involved is so large because we are dealing with benefits for more than one person.They were for his partner and their two children.”

The court heard the couple are now divorced.