Pensioner faced with selling family home to pay back fraudently claimed benefits
A PENSIONER is to sell a house he gifted to relatives to pay back more than £23,000 in fraudulently claimed benefits.
Charles Wright, of Larch Cottage in Strontian, told the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) he only had savings of just over £4,000 and owned no properties, despite owning two houses in Fort William which he later sold for £293,000.
This allowed the 72-year- old to fraudulently claim benefits of £24,340.52 between March 2008 and June 2012. He will now sell another property in Caol, which he had previously given to family, to repay the sum.
Wright appeared for sentencing at Fort William sheriff court on Tuesday (September 15) after pleading guilty at a previous hearing.
Sheriff Richard Davidson deferred sentencing until November 10 to allow an evaluation of the house, thought to be worth around £130,000, but said Wright must pay £ 3,000 before this date.
He said: When you return I want £ 3,000 to be in the hands of a third party and I want to know what is happening in relation to the sale of the property.’