Benefits fraudster adopted second identity

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A BENEFIT cheat obtained more than £40,000 in extra allowances by creating a bogus double identity for himself.

In 1996 Andrew Sibley used a driving licence, he claimed he had found some years earlier, in the name of Christopher Courtman to open a bank account.

He then took on the tenancy of a flat in Wortley Towers, Leeds, in the same name to support his lie and proceeded to claim benefits as Mr Courtman from there.

Meanwhile he was living at home and from 2001 was also claiming benefits in his own name.

Robert Stevenson, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court the Department of Work and Pensions was not able to calculate the full amount he had received in overpayments because their records only went back to 2003,

But by the time his dishonesty was discovered, Sibley had received £20,000 in jobseekers’ allowance and £21,248 in housing and council tax benefits to which he was not entitled since that date.

When the flat in Wortley Towers was searched other documents were found linking him with the false name.

Sibley, 60, of Lumley Road, Leeds, was jailed for 14 months after he was committed for sentence by Leeds magistrates on two charges of fraud, making false representations for benefit and retaining a wrongful credit.

Judge Christopher Batty told him: “In 1988 in a public house you picked up a driving licence in the name of Christopher Courtman. You kept it and in 1996 decided to do something with it and used it to give yourself a double identity.

“You then posed from then onwards as Christopher Courtman and claimed benefits accordingly.”

The judge said Sibley took out a tenancy of an address in that name to support his second identification so it would be different from his own and proceeded to claim in two names.

“This started in 1996 but I have got to deal with you for charges only from 2003 because that is the furthest back records go. In that time you have got over £40,000 in benefits that you dishonestly claimed under that identity. These are serious offences because they were fraudulent from the outset.”

Peter Byrne, for Sibley, told the court that he had been frank about his dishonesty even over a period when there no records to prove it.

Some of the money had gone on a significant amphetamine habit. He was now likely to have to sell his own home to pay proceeds of crime.