Pensioner George MacDonald stands up for trial after accusations he swindled £20.000.
A Rich fraudster from Gourock who has swindled more than £20.000 through the benefits system has made his last move to avoid being locked up by offering to repay the stolen money in full.
Pensioner George MacDonald who has been found with ‘considerable funds’ through family losses attended to a social security office with his chequebook with the hope that he could pay the amount back prior to a sentencing hearing.
- The wealthy fraudster from Gourock swindled more than £20.000 out of the benefits system
- He turned up at a social security office with his chequebook to repay prior to a sentencing hearing
- His lawyer achieved deferment in order to give the money back
- The Crown intends to pursue a confiscation order against MacDonald
- Sheriff said: “Repayment may help you to avoid custody but nothing is ruled in and nothing is ruled out at this stage.”
The 65 year old has illegally claimed employment and supporting benefits totalling £20,860.79 in a period of time nearly three years, putting him in front of High Court disposal guidelines for custody.
The rich benefits cheater is willing to repay the money in order to avoid being locked up.
His lawyer, David Tod, has won a significant reprieve by having the case deferred until next month which offers his client time to contact the Department for Work and Pension (DWP) for repayment.
MacDonald who was originally charged with scamming a further amount of nearly £5,000 has been warned that repayment may not save him from going to prison.
Solicitor Mr Tod told Greenock Sheriff Court: “Mr. MacDonald is a man, due to a number of bereavements, who has considerable funds and his position has always been that he would pay the money back.”
But Sheriff Iain Fleming replied: “In the more immediate sense, it is more than £20,000 and there are sentencing guidelines from the High Court.”
Mr. Tod replied: “He has been going in to the DWP with a chequebook, trying to repay the money himself.
Mr. Tod noted that the Crown intends to pursue a foreclosure against MacDonald over the stolen money, but he argued: “I don’t think that there is any need for that. The proposed foreclosure corresponds directly with the amount in the charge.
“There is no allegation that this man has been involved in any other criminality.”
The Greenock High Court has instructions to set a confiscation hearing but sheriff said nothing is ruled out in this case.
Sheriff Fleming asked: “If the money is repaid, is there a possibility that would resolve the matter?”
Fiscal depute Ms Scaife replied: “It is a possibility. I would put it no higher than that.”
His not guilty plea to get £4,889.76 in income support between November 1 2007 and November 5 2011 was accepted by the Crown. Sheriff Fleming set a confiscation hearing for December 7 and deferred sentence on MacDonald, of Shore Street in Gourock, until October 5.
The sheriff told him: “This was a sustained fraud over a lengthy period of time and involving a significant amount of money.
“Repayment may help you to avoid custody but nothing is ruled in and nothing is ruled out at this stage.”