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Court told disabled ex-miner was let down by his bank
A DISABLED ex-miner who committed benefit fraud after being awarded a series of compensation pay outs was the victim “of an incompetent banking system”, his solicitor told a court.
Anthony Marsden, 54, was prosecuted by the Department for Work and Pensions for continuing to receive income support while amassing thousands of pounds in savings.
Prosecutors alleged the former pitman failed to notify the authorities that his circumstances had changed when a series of personal injury compensation payments built up in his account over six years, resulting in an overpayment of more than £8,000.
St Helens Magistrates’ Court was told that Mr Marsden, of Sherdley Road, Sutton, had started claiming income support legitimately in 2001.
But Michael Cain, prosecuting said an investigation discovered that between 2005 and 2011 that he had bank balances that varied between £9,000 and £18,000.
Mr Marsden, who lives with and is a full time carer for his 74-year-old mother, never informed the DWP, and continued claiming income support allowance.
However, defending, Chris Maloney said the retired miner, whose afflictions from years spent down the pit include the conditions known as ‘beat knee’ and vibration white winger, had breached the laws only because of poor financial advice.
Mr Maloney said: “As a result of receiving the money, he took it to the bank for financial advice – though in the light of the current attitude of banks it was probably the worst place to seek advice.
“He invested in savings accounts and fixed term bonds – (however) had he gone to a more competent financial advisor they would have said ‘have you received this money as a result of a personal injury claim?’ and asked ‘are you in receipt of any state benefits?’.
“To this he would have answered ‘yes’ and the advisor would have directed him to invest in a personal injury trust, which doesn’t affect entitlement to state benefits.
“This was not a case of him living beyond his means. He was misadvised and because of that he finds himself before court.”
Mr Marsden admitted a charge that he failed to promptly notify the Department for Work and pensions about a change in circumstances that affected his entitlement to income support.
He was fined £500, ordered to pay costs of £100 and a victim surcharge of £15.