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Pensioner jailed for £45,000 council benefits fraud

Robert Hopkins said his wife had no income even though she worked for the authority.

Angus Council: Hopkins' wife worked for the authority.
Angus Council: Hopkins' wife worked for the authority. STV

A pensioner has been jailed after admitting a £45,000 benefits scam.

Robert Hopkins, an American citizen, told the Department for Work and Pensions he lived with his wife who had no income.

He collected pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit, even though she actually had a £33,000-a-year job with Angus Council.

Hopkins, 76, carried on his scam for almost three years, netting £15,000 a year to which he wasn't entitled.

Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told Dundee Sheriff Court that Hopkins' wife took the care manager job with Angus Council in April 2012.

She said: "Had the accused declared this to Angus Council then he would not have been entitled to council tax or housing benefit and had he declared this to the DWP he would not have been entitled to pension credit."

Hopkins, of Arbroath, pleaded guilty on indictment to two charges under the Social Security Administration Act committed between April 1, 2012 and October 2015.

Defence solicitor Billy Rennie said: "He didn't intimate the changes in his wife's employment to the authorities.

"He receives nothing now - he is a US citizen and hasn't put enough contributions in despite being here for 30 years.

"He could work and has an electrical degree from the US and in computing from Dundee."

Sheriff Alastair Carmichael jailed Hopkins for eight months.

He said: "This was a significant amount defrauded from the state. 

"It is in effect a fraud on all the members of the public."

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