A former army officer has been jailed after stealing £75,000 in benefits.
Martin Mabb, 57 of Tavistock Street, Bedford has been sent to prison for 10 months for stealing £75,000 in benefits from Bedford Borough Council and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in a fraud spanning over 10 years, Luton Crown Court was told.
Council investigators, working in partnership with officers from the DWP, found that Mabb had failed to declare the existence of an Armed Forces pension and a local authority pension. The ex-army officer also hid from the authorities the bank account into which these were paid into to avoid detection.
During the course of his claim, Mabb received the lump sum payment of £30,700 from his Armed Forces pension but made no attempt to notify the authorities of this money or to support himself financially.
Instead, Mabb continued to apply for support for Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit, Income Support and Employment Support Allowance until the fraud was identified by investigators from the council.
Mabb, who served his country with an exemplary record during tours of the Falklands and Northern Ireland, was discharged from the Army for medical reasons and expressed his regret and remorse for defrauding the council and DWP.
In sentencing, Recorder Argyle said: “The overpayment of £75,000, because of Mr Mabb’s dishonesty, was a substantial amount. There is widespread concern about such frauds and the starting point for sentencing in this matter is one year in custody, but the circumstances of this case dictates a sentence of 18 months.
However, given Mr Mabb’s military service and early guilty plea this sentence can be reduced to 10 months in custody.”
Mr Mabb was also ordered to pay a Victim Surcharge of £100 and both the Council and the DWP will continue to recover the stolen money upon his release from prison.
A council spokesperson said, “This is a very regrettable affair; that a man who once served his country in an exemplary manner has gone on to abuse its systems in such a dishonest, lengthy and costly way. This was deliberate targeting of the benefits system and Mr Mabb set out to steal as much money as he could from honest tax payers, knowing full well he was not entitled to it.”
Bedford Borough Council will investigate Blue Badge and Council Tax Fraud.
You can report Blue Badge and Council Tax Fraud to the council:
By calling Freephone number 0800 917 8491
By filling in a form online at www.bedford.gov.uk
For all other reports of fraud; including Housing Benefit, Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance or Disability Allowance please contact the Department for Work and Pensions in the following ways:
By telephone: Contact the National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854 440. Your call is free and confidential so you do not have to give your name or address. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8.00am to 6.00pm.
Online at: www.gov.uk/report-benefit-fraud
By Post: NBFH, PO Box 224, Preston PR1 1GP