Benefit fraudster too ill to complete community order
A 47-YEAR-OLD man who illegally claimed more than £37,000 in benefits will not have to complete a community punishment order because of his health.
In September last year, John Bera, of Bath Road, Stroud, received a suspended jail term and an order to complete 220 hours of unpaid work at Gloucester Crown Court.
On Thursday, Bera was back before the court so the probation service could apply for the balance of his unpaid work to be cancelled.
After reading a report from the probation service, Judge Alastair McGrigor said: "It is clear he is unfit to work. Out of 220 hours he has completed 172.
"He has pretty much made a dent in it. It seems an appropriate application for the unpaid work requirement now to be removed."
A court liaison probation officer said Bera had done 'extremely well' and had cooperated fully.
Last year, Bera pleaded guilty to three offences of obtaining income support, council tax and housing allowance by deception between 2006 and 2011.
At the time, prosecutor Kevin Farquharson said Bera's claims had been fraudulent from the outset because he first made them when he was already working and had been since 2004.
When interviewed about his illegal claims, Bera said it started when he was suffering from depression after the death of his brother.
He said the depression led to drink, which led to the break up of his marriage.