Lytham St. Anne’s Benefit Fraudster Sentenced At Preston Crown Court

Michael Johnson, 69, from Lytham St Anne’s, stole £32,368.70 in Personal Independence Payments (PIP) but was caught as part of Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) crackdown on benefit cheats, which saved the taxpayer £1.1 billion last year. The disability benefit fraudster was collared on an Aldi booze run. Johnson, who pleaded guilty to fraud, has been sentenced to four months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, at Preston Crown Court.

Johnson was spotted when he went on a supermarket booze run while claiming he had limited mobility. He was caught on camera carrying a case of beer in Aldi (see still from surveillance video below). Surveillance video footage also showed him loading a case of beer into his car (featured still from surveillance video) and carrying furniture into a property.

This counter fraud clampdown, together with wider benefit checks and controls, saved at least £18 billion last year and saw fraud and error fall by 10 percent. The government is now pushing to go further with a target to save the taxpayer £1.3 billion through counter fraud and error in 2023/24.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mel Stride MP, said: ‘Fairness is at the heart of our welfare system. If you are disabled and in need of a helping hand, we will be there for you. But we will not tolerate those who try to cheat the taxpayer. Cases like this are proof our crack down on benefit fraud is working – thanks to our expert teams we plan to save the taxpayer £1.3bn this year and make sure our help goes to those who need it most.’

This latest case comes as the government continues to turn the tide on benefit cheats. DWP’s Fighting Fraud in the Welfare System plan, backed by £900 million over three years, bolsters the counter-fraud frontline with measures including trained specialists to review millions of Universal Credit claims.

The Department has set a new target to save at least £1.3 billion on fraud and error in 2023-24.

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