AMERICAN-born pop singer PJ Proby cheated the benefits system out of tens of thousands of pounds after claiming to have just £5 in his bank account, a court heard today.
Worcester Crown Court was told that the 1960s star, who lived for many years in Todmorden and Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, failed to declare earnings from concert tours, savings and royalties while wrongly receiving more than £47,000 in income support, pension credit, council tax benefit and housing benefit.
Proby, whose real name is James Marcus Smith, denies a total of nine charges relating to benefit payments made to him between November 2002 and March 2008.
Opening the case against the singer-songwriter, prosecutor Nicholas Smith told the court that the 73-year-old informed the Department of Work and Pensions that he was “effectively homeless” when he first claimed income support.
The barrister told a jury of six men and six women: “What the Department of Work and Pensions alleges is that, far from being out of work and having no money or income, he in fact was in receipt of undeclared income from various concert tours around the world and from royalty payments.”