A BENEFIT cheat wrongly claimed more than £5,000 after landing an inheritance payment.
Kevin Hood didn’t tell the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) that he received £21,000 after his father’s death in February last year.
The 53-year-old continued to claim jobseekers allowance and housing and council tax benefits until October, but should have told the authorities about his windfall.
South Tyneside magistrates heard DWP investigators found out about the false claims in an interview in which Hood, of Saxon Way, Jarrow, admitted he knew he should have come clean about the inheritance.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to notify the authorities of a change in circumstance that would affect benefits.
Zeena Begum, prosecuting, told the court that Hood claimed £5,393.94 during the eight-month period and the money is being repaid.
Paul Kennedy, defending, said: “This is a bit of a sad tale. He was left money after his father’s death.
“His father told him to use it to enjoy himself, as he and his mother hadn’t been able to.
“However, he only spent £3,300 on himself, including buying a shed to put his parents’ belongings in.
“He spent some of the money on living expenses and has used some to help out people he knows that needed to buy things – including a car for a neighbour.
“It wasn’t his intention to deliberately defraud the DWP and he has actually lost out financially.
Mr Kennedy added: “He’s never had anything and still doesn’t.”
Magistrates gave Hood a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
Chairman of the bench Theresa Waring said: “This is a serious offence and you’ve got to be a bit more informed with regards to what you should be doing with your benefits.”