TV presenter who exposed cheats jailed for benefit fraud

BBC Rogue Traders presenter Dan Penteado has been jailed for 12 weeks for council tax and housing benefit fraud involving more than £24,000.

The 40-year-old, who chases down bogus workmen with Matt Allwright on the television show, had previously admitted eight offences of dishonestly or knowingly claiming the benefits while not declaring he earned more than £56,000 from the BBC.

His solicitor Terrence Scanlan told Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court he committed the fraud from 2008 to 2012 because he was on a short-term contract with the BBC and made the “very poor judgment not to interrupt the flow of housing benefit”.

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Debt-ridden Penteado was only caught when a council housing benefit officer recognised him on Rogue Traders and matched the name to his fraudulent application.

Chairman of the bench John Corben told Penteado, who is from Bournemouth: “It was planned over four years and it was calculated and we consider it so serious that only a custodial sentence is appropriate – you knew exactly what you were doing.

“You will be sentenced to 12 weeks in prison and it will not be suspended.”

A dazed Penteado, who was dressed in a black jumper, black trousers, black tie and white shirt was escorted to the cells by two security guards.

Earlier in the hearing Mr Scanlan told the court that Portuguese-born Penteado was a man of good character but was “sinking in debt” and owed £20,000.

“He is a man who has always worked hard, trying to improve himself and his circumstances. He is married, he has children, two young children – twins aged nine.”

Mr Scanlan explained that Penteado first applied for benefit in 2007 when he was a student at Bournemouth University, and in March 2008, the BBC invited him to return to Rogue Traders.

“Between March 2008 and September 2011 he had a series of short-term contracts. There was no continuous employment – a few days every month.

“It was this uncertainty of work that fed into his decision not to interrupt the flow of housing benefit – that was very poor judgment by him.

“This was not a man who was living extravagantly. He and his family were living quite frugally.”

The solicitor said Penteado had “lost his burgeoning career in broadcasting and that itself is quite a punishment for him”.

At the previous hearing, the court heard that Penteado received £24,077.60 in housing benefit and £868.77 in council tax benefit to which he was not entitled.

Kerry O’Neill, prosecuting, said: “He failed to notify the borough council of the money (from the BBC) coming in.”

A BBC spokesman said: “In light of the prosecution, Dan Penteado will not be returning to Rogue Traders.”