Judge slammed Sunderland benefit cheat who claimed £6,811 while working seven jobs

A Sunderland benefits cheat who fleeced £6,811 of taxpayers’ cash while working seven jobs has been slammed by a judge for his blatant dishonesty.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 3:37 pm

Callum Johnson, 26, of St Marks Street, Millfield, failed to lower his employment hours despite warnings from benefits bosses.

He pocketed the cash from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) between September 4, 2017, and February 2, 2019.

Johnson was advised by the DWP of how much he was legally entitled to while in employment, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.

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Johnson admitted a charge of dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances affecting entitlement to social security payment.

But he still claimed more, in part due to mental health problems which clouded his thinking, his solicitor alleged.

Johnson admitted a charge of dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances affecting entitlement to social security payment.

The court heard now jobless Johnson was paying the full amount he had taken back via his benefits.

Sentencing him, District Judge Kathryn Meek criticised him for taking from a state help system, sustained by taxpayers and designed to help people most in need.

She told him: “You were working, and you knew that it would affect your benefits claim.

“You told them about some of the work you were doing but you didn’t want to tell them about it all.

“It’s not your money to take, it’s taxpayers’ money that should have been used on other things. You were working seven jobs at this time.

“How you could possibly suggest that you didn’t think that’s work information you should have provided, is ridiculous, never mind dishonest.

“You know what you did was wrong. You know what’s wrong and you know what’s dishonest.”

Chris Wilson, defending, said: “He was advised that he could work for X amount of hours but he has significant mental health issues that seem to have clouded his judgement.

“There’s a statement that says that had he declared, he would still have been entitled to some benefit.”

Judge Meek sentenced Johnson, who the court was told had previous convictions not of a similar nature, to an 18-month community order, with 120 hours of unpaid work.

Johnson, who worked his jobs at different periods over the time of the offence, must also pay £85 court costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

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