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Tax swindle helped fund smoking habit
9:30am Tuesday 1st May 2012 in News
A FORMER civil servant swindled councils out of £23,000 in housing and council tax benefit to fund his smoking habit, a court was told.
Robert Goldsmith did not tell bosses he was receiving a civil service pension and will now have to pay the cash back.
The 65-year-old made £3,150.15 and £1,019.65 in fraudulent housing and council tax claims from Cherwell District Council.
The Woodfield, Banbury resident also claimed £15,714.28 in housing benefit and £3,056.58 in council tax benefit from neighbouring South Northamptonshire Council.
Cherwell spokesman Craig Forsyth said: “He had used the money to help fund a particularly heavy smoking habit.”
Goldsmith admitted four counts of obtaining benefit by deception from August 2007 to May 2010.
He received a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and a four month curfew at Banbury Magistrates’ Court on Friday, April 13.
Another resident also pleaded guilty to defrauding the council of £12,738.85 in housing benefit and £2,890.99 in council tax benefit.
John Donohoe, 60, owned assets that were at one point double the maximum £16,000 allowed to claim benefits. He admitted two counts of obtaining benefit by deception and received six months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and a three-month curfew.
The Golden Villa Close, Banbury, resident will also have to pay the cash back. Both men had to pay court costs of £250 each.