Jailed: Oldham fraudster caught with more than £300k under bed must pay back cash made over 50-year stint

An Oldham fraudster has been jailed and ordered to pay back more than a quarter of a million pounds after tax dodging and fiddling benefits over 50 years.

Peter Bell, 67, of Dalefields, Delph, pleaded guilty to fraud, money laundering and being concerned in the fraudulent evasion of income tax.

Bell was handed a 15 month prison sentence at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court on December 20, 2013.

However the offender was back in the court room yesterday for a confiscation hearing where he was ordered to pay a total of £275,458.30 in confiscation and compensation orders.  

As a result of his conviction, Bell was ordered to pay a confiscation order of £142,170.06.

He was also ordered to repay HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) £91,759.29 in unpaid tax and penalties and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) a total of £41,528.95.

Detective Constable Michelle Lomax, of the Oldham POCA unit based within the Organised Crime Team at Oldham, said: “Bell showed a pattern of greed and deception over the best part of a decade.

“He has now been ordered to pay back the vast majority of the money he cheated from the taxpayer.

“Results of this nature are not possible without the help of partner agencies including HM Revenue and Customs, the Department for Work and Pensions and Oldham Housing.”

On July 4, 2012 police executed a warrant at Bell’s home and found large stash of cash hidden under a bedroom drawer – which totalled to £311,940.

The offender had worked as a builder from the age of 16 and was regularly paid cash in hand meaning he could dodge paying tax.

Police officers worked with the HM Revenue and Customs HMRC to calculate that Bell should have paid £74,184.20 plus interest of £18,000 in income tax over a decade – 2002 to 2012.

The investigation also uncovered that in 1999 Bell declared himself paraplegic after an accident which led him to claim incapacity benefit.

The deceitful crook was back working by 2001 and failed to inform the DWP of the change in his circumstances.

It has since been calculated that he was paid more than £42,000 in benefits.

To add insult to injury, on his 65th birthday Bell requested pension credit, claiming he did not have savings in excess of £10,000.

Image courtesy of Howard Lake, with thanks.

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