A MALVERN man has been sentenced to do 240 hours' community service after he admitted benefit fraud.

Patrick Christopher Moloney, 48, of Belmont Road, was brought to court after a joint investigation by Malvern Hills District Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Worcester Magistrates Court heard that from December 2008, Moloney claimed housing benefit and council tax benefit, and later claimed jobseeker’s allowance, for the property he now rents and before that a property in Cales Avenue.

Moloney failed to disclose, that the money in his bank accounts exceeded the £16,000 upper limit for claiming benefit.

In total, he was overpaid £10,287.82, £5,886.96 in housing benefit and council tax benefit, and £4,400.86 in jobseeker’s allowance, between May 2012 and July 2013.

Moloney pleaded guilty to charges of dishonestly failing to disclose information he was legally obliged to disclose, under the Fraud Act 2006.

In sentencing, magistrates gave Moloney credit for his early guilty plea and the fact that he had already repaid all the benefits, but they noted he had been sanctioned for a similar offence in November 2009.

The magistrates sentenced him to a 12- month community service order with 240 hours of unpaid work in the community, plus costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £60.

Nick Jefferies of the South Worcestershire Partnership said: “It is important that benefits are only paid to those who are entitled to them. This was a premeditated case, designed to defraud the taxpayer of money to which he was not entitled. This case sends a clear message that if you try to cheat the system when you claim benefits you will get caught.”