In the Media

BBC Rogue Traders' Dan Penteado jailed for ?24,000 benefit fraud

PUBLISHED July 17, 2012

The 40-year-old, who chases down bogus workmen with Matt Allwright on the television show, had previously admitted eight offences of dishonestly or knowingly claiming the benefits while not declaring he earned more than £56,000 from the BBC.

His solicitor Terrence Scanlan told Bournemouth Magistrates' Court he committed the fraud from 2008 to 2012 because he was on a short-term contract with the BBC and made the "very poor judgment not to interrupt the flow of housing benefit".

Debt-ridden Penteado was only caught when a council housing benefit officer recognised him on Rogue Traders and matched the name to his fraudulent application.

Dorset police originally applied for an arrest warrant at Bournemouth Magistrates' Court when Penteado failed to respond to letters of enquiry sent to him by Bournemouth Borough Council.

He was sent a court summons to appear before Bournemouth Magistrates' Court on Wednesday to answer several charges of fraud and eventually handed himself into the police and insisted it had been a 'misunderstanding.'

Chairman of the bench John Corben told Penteado, who is from Bournemouth: "This is not a victimless crime, it is actually a crime of stealing from the public purse.

"It was planned over four years and it was calculated and we consider it so serious that only a custodial sentence is appropriate - you knew exactly what you were doing.

"You will be sentenced to 12 weeks in prison and it will not be suspended."

A dazed Penteado, who was dressed in a black jumper, black trousers, black tie and white shirt was escorted to the cells by two security guards.

Earlier in the hearing Mr Scanlan told the court that Portuguese-born Penteado was a man of good character but was "sinking in debt" and owed £20,000.

"He is a man who has always worked hard, trying to improve himself and his circumstances. He is married, he has children, two young children - twins aged nine."

Mr Scanlan explained that Penteado first applied for benefit in 2007 when he was a student at Bournemouth University, and added: "In March 2008, the BBC contacted him and invited him to return to the programme he had previously worked on, Rogue Traders.

"Between March 2008 and September 2011 he had a series of short-term contracts. There was no continuous employment - a few days every month.

"It was this uncertainty of work that fed into his decision not to interrupt the flow of housing benefit - that was very poor judgment by him.

"This was not a man who was living extravagantly. He and his family were living quite frugally."

The solicitor said Penteado had "lost his burgeoning career in broadcasting and that itself is quite a punishment for him".

According to the BBC website, Portuguese-born Penteado started working with Mr Allwright in 2001 and has been an integral part of Rogue Traders and Watchdog since then.

In the last series of Rogue Traders, he and Allwright confronted eight business owners they felt were ripping-off the public across the UK.

When he is not working on Rogue Traders he works as a private investigator in the UK and abroad.