Housing Benefit fraud man is paying back £5 per month and at the current rate he will be 90 before it is fully recovered

Ballymena Court

A MAN who is paying back £5 a month for Housing Benefit fraud will not have it paid out for half a century until he is 90 at the current rate.

It will take Romica Anghel, aged 40, fifty years to pay off the £2,974 unless the repayment amounts or frequency of repayments are increased.

As a repayment plan is in place for that money no court order was made regarding the £2,974 when he appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court.

However, a court order was made regarding the repayment of £2,587 in Jobseeker’s Allowance the defendant also owes and the timescale with that is quicker.

The District Judge gave him an initial period of six months to pay that back after hearing the defendant is working and can earn up to £520 a week with over time.

The defendant, a Romanian with an address listed as William Street in Ballymena, had claimed a total of £5,724 in benefits whilst failing to declare employment and and at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday pleaded guilty to charges he faced in connection with the case.

The offences related to period in 2010 and 2011.

A defence solicitor said the defendant had been in Northern Ireland since 2006 and had been convicted in his absence at court in the current case in 2012 and there had then been an arrest warrant.

The lawyer said the defendant had moved addresses in the Ballymena area and had been unaware of the arrest warrant.

The solicitor said the defendant may have had a “lack of understanding” of the benefits process as some weeks he had been working and in other weeks he wasn’t.

The defendant was given a three months prison term, suspended for a year.

The judge was asked to make a compensation order for the Jobseekers’ money of which £163 was already paid back and no agreement was in place to pay it back.

The judge said the defendant was now earning a “significant” wage and gave him 26 weeks to pay back £2,587.17 Jobseeker’s money and said if it was shown good progress was being made he could give more time.

The defendant had bail for appeal in the case fixed in the sum of £500.

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