A single father claimed more than £17,000 in benefits even though he had more than £50,000 in savings, a court has heard.
Michael Grimshaw, 39, of Beaconsfield Terrace, Chorley, has been handed a 12-month community order and was ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.
Magistrates in Chorley on Monday heard how Grimshaw had received a £50,000 life insurance pay-out after the accidental death of his partner in 2007.
Grimshaw claimed he had used all the money to pay off debts, but the court heard that although the money was in a friend’s account, he still had access to it.
Grimshaw pleaded guilty to two counts of fraudulently claiming more than £17,000 in Income Support and Council Tax Benefit.
The court was told he initially claimed Income Support benefits in February 2007 as an unemployed single parent and later was awarded Council Tax benefit.
When interviewed by officers from the Department for Work and Pensions and Chorley Council about his savings, Grimshaw said he had used the money to pay back loans from an associate and after interview produced a signed witness statement giving details of how he had accrued the debts.
But, when investigators checked out his story, they found it to be false and when challenged Grimshaw admitted that he had lied in his interview. He retracted his statement and admitted the letter from France was false.
Coun Peter Wilson, who oversees benefits payments for Chorley Council, said: “This case was jointly investigated by the council and the DWP. Their tenacity and determination proved Grimshaw’s initial account was all lies.”