Jail for benefits cheat who stole £9000 to pay debts
A BENEFITS cheat conned tax payers out of more than £9000 after his family ran up debts to criminals.
James McQuilter failed to tell the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) that he was in paid employment.
Instead, he allowed the benefits service to keep paying him cash he wasn’t entitled to – to a sum of £9331.48.
In court, the 46-year-old claimed his brother had stolen cash from a crime gang and he had been threatened to cough up.
He used the fraudulently obtained benefits cash to pay back the men threatening him.
McQuilter, of Bridgeton, was claiming employment and support allowance after failing to tell the DWP he was now working.
His brief said: “He came under particular financial pressure.
“His brother stole a large amount of money from the wrong people to steal from.
“They pursued the debt against Mr McQuilter and his father.”
Glasgow Sheriff Court heard McQuilter works six days a week for two hours a day.
He had a serious conviction for a crime around 20 years ago but, the court was told, he has had a clean record since.
Initially, McQuilter told social workers carrying out a social justice report on him that he was the real victim in the situation.
But his defence brief said he has now changed his tune. The lawyer said: “[The social work] report is a decent report. He does accept that he should have advised the DWP.
“In the report, he thinks he is the victim but he knows now the only victim is the tax payer.
“His last serious conviction was 1998.”
Sheriff William Totten said:“I have to take the view that I have to follow the guidelines the court is required to take in cases like this to reflect the serious nature of this kind of offence.
“This is something that effects the enlightened system we have in place in this country of helping people who require it.
“I consider, therefore, in view of the serious nature of this crime a custodial sentence is the only option.”
The sheriff handed down a sentence of four months in prison.
James McQuilter appeared before Glasgow Sheriff Court over the benefits fraud totalling more than £9000