There was 2 self employed builders in Nottingham who thought it was a good idea to claim benefits…while still on the job.
These 2 builders did all the jobs you would expect of builders. They pointed ridge tiles, they built walls and they knocked things down, only to build them back up again.
Every morning they got in their white vans and drove to the job of the day, and then every night they drove back to their houses and parked the white van in the drive.
The one thing they didn’t do was to tell HMRC the truth.
Instead of ticking the “self employed” box, they ticked “unemployed” boxes on every single form at the benefits office.
Then, at the same time every week they parked up their white vans in the car park round the back of the benefits office, and while still dressed as hard working working builders they went to queue up to get their dole.
Perhaps they thought it wasn’t a big deal and everybody was doing it? Perhaps that is the reason why they turned up at the benefits office, week after week, to get their dole money with a relaxed attitude? Eventually justice caught up with them.
Was this a slap on the wrists or a caution not to do it again? Not at all. In fact, they found themselves standing in the dock at Nottingham Crown Court.
It was there in the dock where one man aged 63 and another man aged 32 suddenly learned the true meaning of justice.
The judge was taking no prisoners in this courtroom, and that is why the judge sent them directly to prison.
The 63 year old got 20 weeks in prison, although it was suspended for 12 months. This was after he had taken around £20,000 pounds in benefits while working as a builder.
Meanwhile, the 32 year old who took around £15,000 in benefits got 16 weeks in prison, although this was also suspended for 12 months.
However, if these 2 self employed builders try anything like this again, then you bet your bottom dollar they will be going directly to prison. No passing GO and No collecting £200…directly to prison.
The benefit fraud manager for the Department for Work and Pensions had this to say – “When people commit benefit theft, they don’t get away with it. They face imprisonment, fines and other penalties. We will also make sure they pay back the money they have stolen from the taxpayer.”
Does this mean those 2 self employed builders might have to sell their white vans to pay back the taxpayer? Maybe, but if they are going legit and above board now then maybe they should keep those white vans to work harder than ever before.
The moral of the story is that it doesn’t matter if you are a self employed builder, shop owner, IT contractor, work from home freelance professional or office worker. If you try to commit benefit fraud then you will get caught.