In the Media

Benefits cheat had ?822,000 in bank

PUBLISHED August 4, 2006

A taxi driver who had ?822,000 in the bank but claimed benefits for three years has been fined and ordered to repay the cash, it emerged yesterday.

Andrew McKone, 47, invested ?700,000 in property while applying for housing and council tax benefits.

He was caught when Sheffield city council found he was receiving interest on an account he had not declared, and used its powers to obtain his bank statements.

McKone was fined ?1,500, ordered to repay the ?6,778 he received in benefits and charged ?2,038 in costs by Sheffield magistrates. He had admitted three offences under the Social Security Administration Act. Details of the case were released by the council yesterday.

When arrested, McKone, of Walkley, Sheffield, said that he had not declared his savings because he did not want his wife to know that he had previously been divorced and "walked away with nothing."

The court heard that he had obtained his money legally, but its source was not revealed. When McKone first asked for a benefits application form in 2001 he had ?822,000 in the bank.

When he sent in the application a few weeks later, he had spent ?700,000 on property and had ?76,000 in the bank. When he made claims in 2002 and 2003, he had the property and ?38,000 and ?3,700 respectively in the bank.