A 42-year-old security worker falsely claimed more than £15,000 in benefit payments over seven years to care for his ill wife while working full-time.
Azad Metcalfe, of Dudley Street, Tyersal, Bradford, was ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty at Bradford Magistrates’ Court yesterday to defrauding the Department for Work and Pensions.
Prosecutor Paul Milner said the DWP would not have paid invalid care allowance to Metcalfe for 333 weeks had it known the true picture. Metcalfe falsely claimed a total of £15,150.48 between November, 2001, and September, 2008. He has been making fortnightly payments to give it back for the past 12 months, the court heard.
Metcalfe’s wife suffers from diabetes, fits and other illnesses and her husband was claiming payments reserved for people who care for a spouse for at least 35 hours a week while he worked for Cerberus Security in Apperley Bridge.
The court heard how Metcalfe had been struggling to keep up payments on his house when he applied for invalid care allowance in 2001.
Mr Milner said: “It appeared to have been a fraud from the start.
“He said he started work in January, 2001. When he applied for benefits on November 16, he said the last time he worked was three days before and he would receive his pay on November 23 so he was just out of work when he made his application.
“But it was found that he continued to work, with short breaks of three months in 2002 and four months in 2004 and 2005, until September, 2008.”
In mitigation, Metcalfe’s solicitor Stuart Carter, said his client had since left his job due to his own ill health after contracting Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory disease of the intestines, and now claims incapacity benefit.
Chairman of the bench, Penelope Silson, ordered Metcalfe to pay prosecution costs of £100 and a £15 victim surcharge, as well as carrying out the period of unpaid work.