A BENEFITS cheat who claimed pension top-ups despite having more that quarter of a million pounds in the bank has been spared jail.
Frenny Doe plundered more than £30,000 in pension credits over a five year period after failing to declare the cash sloshing about in his bank account.
But after hearing the 74-year-old, who lives in a mobile home, has paid back what he took a judge at Swindon Crown Court imposed a suspended sentence.
Chris Smyth, prosecuting, said Doe first made his claim from the Benefits Agency by phone in July 2010, continuing it until he was found out in December 2015.
When he applied he declared savings of between £4,000 and £5,000, which was below the permitted capital allowance.
But in reality the former businessman had £256,995 in the joint bank account he held with his wife.
Doe admitted the money came from the sale of a property and claimed he did not think it counted.
When it became apparent he would be prosecuted he said that the £32,061.05p he should not have received was repaid in full.
Doe, of Four Oaks Park, Braydon Road, Lydiard Plain, admitted making a dishonest representation to obtain benefits.
Delivering an oral report probation officer Karen Fowler said he told her the money had come from the sale of a plot of land in Winchester.
It had been £600,000 but she said he had used some to buy a plot of land and mobile homes for his children to live in on the same plot as his.
He had been informed by friends that he could claim pension credits, she said, and that he wasn't aware he had to declare the savings.
She said he had a number of health problems including diabetes and had stents fitted in arteries near his heart.
Also, she said, his wife has had Crohn's disease, had been through leukaemia and thyroid issues and he has been her carer for many years.
Michael Butt, defending, said all of the remainder of the savings had now gone, much dissipated to his children, which meant he was now entitled to the benefit.
But he said should his client be made subject to a curfew he had booked a cruise for next month.
In the past he said he had run a pallet business which he sold up when he retired about ten years ago, Mr Butt said.
He said that he resides in a mobile home and the cash hadn't been spent on lavish living.
Imposing an eight month jail term suspended for 18 months Judge Tim Mousley QC said "This is a serious offence, as all cases of benefit fraud are.
"I take into account that you are remorseful for what you did and that you cooperated with the investigation."