Belfast Telegraph

Benefits cheat is given 62 years to pay back money

By George jackson

A fraudster who falsely claimed £32,600 in benefits will be 112 years old by the time he pays the money back.

John McGilligan fraudulently claimed the money while working as a security guard.

He is paying back the money at the rate of £10 per week from his current benefits, the Crown Court in Londonderry has been told.

At that rate it will take the 50-year-old, from Seventree Road in the Waterside, 62 years to repay the money owed.

He pleaded guilty to falsely claiming the employment support and housing benefits between January 2010 and October 2012. So far he has repaid £800.

A prosecution barrister told Judge Philip Babington that McGilligan worked with the security company Swords Security while claiming the benefits. He failed to inform the benefits agencies that he was working with the company and continued to claim his employment support and housing benefits.

He claimed £20,000 in employment support and £12,600 in housing benefits before he was caught.

A defence barrister said since the offending, McGilligan's health had deteriorated significantly.

He was on multiple medications for a variety of health-related issues and his vision had deteriorated by 70%.

Judge Babington said he took into consideration McGilligan's early admissions and imposed an eight-month jail sentence, suspended for two years.

Further reading

£5m in Government payments fraud 

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