28/07/2006

'Champagne lifestyle' man jailed for benefit fraud

A businessman who is understood to have lived a 'champagne lifestyle' while claiming more than £50,000 in benefits has been jailed for 27 months.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how Terence Pendleton, 46, claimed that he was crippled, depressed, unable to work and living alone in a dingy bedsit in Liverpool.

However, he was actually living in a £500,000 house in Knowsley Village, Merseyside with his partner and their three children.

The court heard how Pendleton lived a lavish lifestyle, driving a Rolls-Royce, keeping a collection of champagne and bottles of expensive wine and having peacocks roaming in his garden.

He also ran a successful business selling power tools.

Pendleton had told the court that he had moved into the house in Knowsley Village in March. He also said that the house was not as lavish as it seemed and said that the Rolls-Royce belonged to his brother.

Pendleton was found guilty of 13 charges of benefit fraud last month. He was sentenced to nine months for exaggerating the extent of his physical disabilities, nine months for failing to declare that he was living with his partner. The sentences will run consecutively.

Pendleton has paid back at least half of the benefits and provided cheques in court on Friday to cover the rest of what was owed.

(KMcA)

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