79-year-old jailed for using dead brother's identity to claim benefits
A 79-year-old fraudster who used his dead brother and school friend's identities to claim more than £200,000 of public money has been sentenced to 28 months in prison.
Carl Jones pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to making dishonest representations, theft and fraud to claim housing benefit, council tax and pension credit.
Recorder Simon Medlands QC said Jones was a "determined and sophisticated" criminal after he embezzled £201,771.54 over a 13-year period.
Mr Medlands said: "You are a dyed-in-the-wool fraudster and as greedy as you are dishonest."
Retired Jones, who has a criminal record dating back to 1952 with convictions for dishonesty and drug trafficking, was criticised by the judge as only "having himself to blame".
He used the identities of his brother Roy and school friend Brian Abram as well as a man called Charles Jones.
The court was told that the deception was fraudulent from the outset and dated back to 2002.
A passport in his brother's name was issued in July 2006 with a declaration that he had been living in Santander, Spain, for the previous 22 years to explain why there was no record of him in the UK.
Officers for the Department for Work and Pensions and Liverpool City Council became concerned that claims for pension credit, council tax and housing benefit were being made. Inquiries revealed Roy Jones died in 1967.
The two authorities paid a total of £74,120.52 to him over a six-year period.
Jones was arrested at his home in Wavertree, Liverpool, in February.
Further inquiries revealed that he posed as Mr Abram to claim minimum income guarantee of £6,580.60, along with £75,832 of pension credits and £40,470 of housing and council tax benefits.
He also claimed £4,800 for home loss and disturbance.
The total was said to be almost £123,000.
At his home, officers found documents including passports in the names of his brother, Mr Abram and Mr Jones which all bore the defendant's picture.
For the prosecution, Robert Dudley said there was high culpability because of the "significant planning and the significant nature of the offences".
For Jones, Phil Tully said his client accepted his offending crossed the custody threshold, b ut he had not lived "a lavish lifestyle", instead spending the majority of the money looking after his children.
He added that Jones had shown "genuine remorse".
The judge said Jones had taken money from "people who needed it".
He added: "It's a tragedy to see a man of your age in the dock but in reality you only have yourself to blame. For 13 years or more you had been undertaking a highly sophisticated and persistent fraud. During that period you effectively stole from the public purse more than £200,000."
A confiscation hearing will follow.
Pamela Jain, specialist fraud prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "These actions were cold and calculated. Carl Jones used the identity of his dead brother to claim benefits he was not entitled to.
"He also stole the personal details of his friends and in one case used these to claim further payments. This friend had no idea that his name and details were being used to make claims including for pension, housing and council tax benefits."
Jones pleaded guilty to nine counts of dishonest representation for obtaining benefit, two counts of theft, dishonestly retaining a wrongful credit, using a copy of a false instrument with intent, two counts of possession of an identity document with improper intention, and two counts of fraud.