Builder jailed after fraudulently claiming £65,000 in benefits for a bad back

|News, Fraud and economic crime

A builder who continued working despite claiming more than £65,000 in benefits for his bad back has been sentenced to 12 months in prison today (9 March) at Swansea Crown Court.

Keith Webster, 59, told the authorities that a ‘degenerative disc disease at the lower spine’ had left him struggling to put his socks on and that he was too ill to work. As a result he claimed housing benefit, council tax benefit, income support, disability living allowance and employment support allowance for six years.

At the same time as telling claims advisors he had severely restricted mobility so that he struggled to carry out basic actions such as washing his hair, Webster, from Swansea, in fact continued work as a self-employed home improvements builder, trading as KW Installations.

He was observed lifting and carrying heavy items and carrying out general maintenance work including painting and repairs.

At the time of arrest, he had more than £33,000 in the bank.

Hywel Rees, of the CPS, said: “Keith Webster fabricated a spinal injury to claim more than £65,000 in benefits. Despite his claims that he struggled day to day, he was found to be running a building business.

“The CPS presented evidence which included CCTV of Webster lifting items in and out of his work van and carrying out tasks with ease, leading Webster to plead guilty.”

Webster will now be subject to a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Notes to editors

  • Hywel Rees is a Senior Crown Prosecutor in the Specialist Fraud Division.
  • Keith Webster (01/04/1958) pleaded guilty to the following offences at Swansea Magistrates’ Court on 26 January: Five counts of dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances affecting entitlement to social security benefit and one count of dishonestly making a false statement to obtain a benefit
  • He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for each count, running concurrently.

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