A BENEFIT cheat who hid his £50,000 bank balance from the authorities has been spared jail.
Graham Dent was paid income support and council tax relief on the basis he had assets worth less than £16,000.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 60-year-old did not declare a £50,000 inheritance payout he received after his mother’s death.
As a result, between 2007 and 2012, he was paid over £21,500 in benefits which he was not entitled to.
Dent, of Coley Terrace, Fulwell, Sunderland, admitted four benefit fraud charges.
The court heard he has never been in trouble before.
Judge Brian Forster QC sentenced Dent to six months behind bars, suspended for 18 months, with supervision.
The judge said: “The public only has a limited amount of money at the present time.
“It is important the monies that are available go to the people who genuinely need the support.
“If you had declared that money then you would not have received £21,532.”
Jonathan Devlin, defending, said Dent will pay the full amount of the fraud back to the authorities.
Mr Devlin added that Dent suffers health problems.