Devon

Conman's fraud swindle from jail

A conman swindled thousands of pounds by claiming disability benefit while he was in prison, a court has been told.

David Lewis of Carlton Road, Torquay, Devon, was paid £100 a week by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) after stealing another man's identity.

It only came to light when police accessed his bank accounts to recover money stolen in earlier frauds.

The 29 year old was sentenced to 12 months in jail, suspended for two years, at Exeter Crown Court.

The court heard Lewis found a DWP letter dropped outside a Torquay Jobcentre in 2009 informing a 64-year-old man he was eligible for disability living allowance.

'Cynical victimisation'

But the "opportunistic" fraud Lewis then set up resulted in the man with genuine disabilities not getting the money he was entitled to.

Over a period of two years, the DWP paid more than £10,000 into Lewis's building society account.

When he was jailed for false representation at Exeter Crown Court in January, Devon and Cornwall Police began an investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act and found out about the payments.

Recorder Mr Nicholas Wood ordered £1,991.28 which was left in Lewis's account to be confiscated and used to repay the DWP.

Lewis, who admitted dishonestly making a false representation, was also given a 12-month supervision order which includes attending a Thinking Skills programme.

Mr Wood told Lewis his actions had been "a cynical and calculating victimisation of another person".

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