Saltney housing officer falsely claimed benefits

Reporter:

Staff reporter

A HOUSING officer who also runs ale companies has been convicted in his absence of falsely claiming £5,460 in housing benefit from Flintshire County Council.

Robert Blacker, of Beechwood Road, Saltney, was charged with failing to notify a change of circumstances – that he was working – which would affect his entitlement to the benefit.

He failed to turn up at Flintshire Magistrates Court at Mold and the charge was proved in his absence.

Prosecutor Bryony Tomlinson described it as an unusual case.

Blacker received housing benefit from the council but in October last year the council learnt his job seekers allowance had ceased. He had not informed the authority.

The council wrote to him requesting details of his income and bank accounts from 2009 but there had been no response.

Housing benefit of £5,460 had been paid for the period between December 14, 2009 and July 24, 2011.

Investigations showed he had business bank accounts in the names of Chester Homebrew Ltd, Chester Ales Ltd and he admitted running Bob Blacker
Housing Ltd.

He claimed he was not receiving any income but an examination of bank accounts showed money being transferred into his personal account.

In interview he admitted he failed to disclose the businesses and was asked to provide business accounts.

They had not been forthcoming but a letter had subsequently been received enclosing accounts for one of his businesses.

The prosecutor said that as a housing officer, Blacker would have had a higher knowledge of the change of circumstances that he would be required to notify.

The case was adjourned for him to attend for sentence.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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