Ex-prisoner was overpaid more than £4,500

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A man released from prison was overpaid more than £4,500 in benefits because he dishonestly failed to declare income from two pensions.

Charles Dobney (57), of Park Lane, Surfleet, finished a jail term in August 2009 for causing the death of a young woman by dangerous driving.

His solicitor, Beris Brickles, said Dobney lost his livelihood in farming when a supermarket ended its contract, had to deal with the aftermath of the accident, which was “a considerable burden”, and during the time he was in prison his wife left him.

Mr Brickles said Dobney applied for benefits when he came out of prison because he was genuinely unemployed, but failed to declare income from two small pensions which amounted to £26 a week because he didn’t know how he was going to “fare in this new world with no money”.

He said Dobney found work last year with a home improvement company and, to his credit, signed off benefits.

Mr Brickles said the prosecution came as a result of a “data matching exercise”.

Dobney pleaded guilty to three counts of dishonestly making a false statement to obtain benefit – one in August 2010 and two in 2011.

Spalding magistrates on Thursday fined Dobney £665 and ordered him to pay £100 costs and a £66 victim surcharge.

Jim Clare, prosecuting, said Dobney claimed jobseekers’ allowance on the basis that he was single and had no income.

On the forms there were questions asking whether he was getting a pension or waiting to get a pension within the next three years and whether he or a partner had any other money coming in – Dobney’s response in both cases was to tick the “no” box.

Mr Clare said as a result of receiving the pension income, Dobney was overpaid £4,513.37.

The court heard the money was being recovered.