Honiton £100,000 benefit fiddler facing jail

PUBLISHED: 11:00 10 February 2018

Exeter Crown Court.

Exeter Crown Court.


Robert Lewis had changed his name twice during his life and had different National Insurance numbers for each which he used to carry out the swindle.

A benefit fiddler swindled almost £100,000 by inventing two false identities which he used to make fraudulent claims.

Robert Lewis had changed his name twice during his life and had different National Insurance numbers for each which he used to carry out the swindle.

He made claims under the names of Robert Shales and Mark Shales for housing benefits for a house in Exeter and received a range of payments under both false names.

He was paid Employment Support Allowance under both names; Personal Independence Payments as Robert Shales, and Disability Living Allowance as Mark Shales.

The swindles ran from September 2012 until April 2016 when Lewis was living in Newton Abbot, Devon.

Lewis, aged 61, now of New Street, Honiton, admitted six counts of fraud and his case was adjourned for sentence by Judge Graham Cottle at Exeter Crown Court.

He bailed him but told him:”You must be prepared for an immediate custodial sentence.”

Miss Emily Pitts, prosecuting, said the total size of the overpayment was £97,000 and it involved the use of different identities to make false claims.

She said:”He was born Robert Martin Lewis but was adopted and took the name Hill and received another NI number. He changed his name again to Shales and received a further NI number.

“That is one of the reasons why he was capable of conducting this level of deception.”

Miss Emmi Wilson, defending, said Lewis is in poor health and would be eligible for a suspended sentence.

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