A FORMER Kingston Hospital security officer has been found guilty of fraudulently claiming more than £13,000 in housing benefits.
Michael Shirley, 60, began claiming the money when he was unemployed and living in Paragon Place, Surbiton, but did not tell Kingston Council when he started his job and received payments between 2004 and 2006.
He submitted two housing benefit application forms, claiming he was not working, despite starting his job in March 2004.
Mr Shirley, who now lives in Twickenham, no longer works at the hospital. He admitted five counts of benefit fraud at Kingston Magistrates Court on May 26, where the prosecution said he had not yet repaid any of the money.
He was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and must also pay costs of £860 on top of the £13,411.34 he fraudulently claimed.
Speaking after the hearing, Mary Tam, head of revenues and benefit services at Kingston Council said: “Those who try to cheat the system will be tracked down and caught.
“When a benefit claimant fails to declare all their income, savings and assets they will eventually be detected. The Council carries out extensive checking in order to find benefit fraud and if suspected we can check bank statements, household bills and carry out surveillance in order that such antisocial behaviour is stamped out.
“Benefit overpayments resulting from a fraudulent claim have to be repaid in full plus costs granted by the Courts. Kingston’s benefit fraud team has an excellent track record of bringing culprits to justice and anyone considering committing benefit fraud is advised that they face being caught and prosecuted.”