Search

Big fat gypsy lie: Elm Park benefit cheat claimed inheritance came from ‘Dave’ - mysterious traveller friend he made up

14:23 25 April 2014

A benefit cheat has been fined £2,500 after claiming money he inherited belonged to a mysterious traveller friend named “Dave” - who does not actually exist.

Graham Coulson, 51, of Diban Court, Elm Park, failed to declare both his income and money he received through inheritance to Havering Council and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Between December 2009 and April 2013, Coulson inherited £19,000, as well as receiving further income which appeared to come from the sale of motor vehicles.

At the same time, he was receiving more than £11,000 in housing benefit, income support and council tax support, which he was not entitled to.

Appearing at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on April 17, Coulson denied two counts of fraud, saying the previously undisclosed income was from his friend, “Dave,” who, because he was a traveller and did not have a permanent address, would trade cars.

He added that “Dave” would use both his bank account and personal computer to process and complete the transactions that came on the back of his sales.

However, magistrates found Coulson guilty as charged and stated they did not believe that “Dave” existed and that his income was derived from the sale of cars which actually belonged to Coulson. They also believed he knew he should have told the Council and the DWP about his inheritance.

Mike Stringer, Head of Finance at Havering Council, said: “Mr Coulson claimed over £11k in benefits while raking in cash from his car sales business and keeping his inheritance of £19,000 quiet. He played the very system that honest residents pay for.”

Coulson was ordered to pay £2,500 and given a 12-month community order. He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £60.

Read more:

Harold Hill woman escapes jail after £76,000 benefit fraud

Brentwood benefits cheat must return taxpayers money

Benefits cheat sentenced to community service after illegally claiming more than £2,400 from Brentwood Council

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 16:25
Deck the halls with boughs of holly - and doughnuts  (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

“You wouldn’t want to eat one, really – I’ve tried about four and even I don’t like them.”

Yesterday, 15:28
Person 1

Detectives are hunting for thugs who carried out a brutal early-morning attack in Romford town centre.

The 'Ho Ho Honut', the stuff of Christmas nightmares

Christmas just got a whole lot better – thanks to a Havering bakery chain.

Yesterday, 07:00
Romford Greyhound Stadium

The manager of Romford Greyhound Stadium has defended the track over claims it has the worst dog injury record in the country.

Most read news

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

News from your area

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition

And they have a role to play in saving their species.

Twinkle, twinkle you little stars – thanks for making your homes so festive.

Offers for university places are at a record high.