Lottery Winner Admits Claiming Benefits
3 July 2012, 16:06
Greedy and cheating lottery winner Edward PUTMAN won nearly £5Million, but then had the gall to claim benefits, saying he was penniless, about to be evicted and couldn't feed himself.
Putman wrote letters to the authorities pleading for his benefits to be reinstated after they had been stopped.
But he failed to tell the Department for Work and Pensions, who had been paying him income support, that he had just won a fortune that was sitting in a secret bank account.
He also failed to tell his local council, who had been paying him housing benefit.
As a result, benefit payments to scheming Putman began once more and, over 20 months, he cheated the tax payer out of £13,000 he was not entitled to because of his secret millions.
His breathtaking dishonesty was only discovered later when he applied to buy his council flat in Hemel Hempstead, Herts., for £83,000 under a Right to Buy scheme and said he would pay in cash.
Those paying his benefits were immediately suspicious and an investigation of his financial affairs began.
Today (Tuesday) Putman, 46, from Station Road in Kings Langley, Herts., appeared at St Albans Magistrates Court to plead guilty to failing to notify a change of circumstances to the DWP in relation to income support.
He also pleaded guilty to failing to notify a change of circumstances to Dacorum Borough Council in respect of housing benefit.
After hearing an outline of the case against Putman, magistrate Georgina Palmer told him it was being transferred to the crown court, who had greater sentencing powers.
Putman will next have to appear before a judge at St Albans Crown Court on July 24.
In court today, solicitor Hita Mashru, prosecuting on behalf of the DWP, told how Putman had first begun claiming incapacity benefit as far back as 2000.
At the time, he said he was unable to work because he suffered from anxiety.
He also began claiming housing benefit and was told that he would have to undergo periodical medical check ups.
In 2009, the court was told, he heard he would have to attend such a medical check up, but failed to keep the appointment.
He failed to provide an explanation why and, eventually, in April 2010, his benefit payments were suspended.
But, by now, Putman was a multi millionaire, having won just under £5Million the previous September.
Miss Mashru said that at the time of his win he had told Camelot he wanted "no publicity."
In July of 2010 Putman wrote letter to the DWP and Dacorum Borough Council claiming he was in dire need of assistance because of his benefits being suspended.
He pointed out that he had been ill, had lost weight and even feared for his life. He claimed he was suffering from depression and was borrowing money from family and friends to feed himself.
He said he had even sold his belongings to raise cash.
As well as asking for his benefits to be re-instated, he also asked if they could be backdated.
The court was told benefit payments were indeed re-instated, with both the DWP and the council unaware of the lottery win sitting in a secret bank account.
Miss Mashru said that in October 2010 Putman applied to buy his council flat for just under £84,000, saying he would pay cash for the property.
The court heard that the council then began to look with more interest into Putman's financial circumstances. They discovered a bank account with £100,000 in it and, eventually, the bank recommended by Camelot to lottery winners was found to be holding just under £5Million belonging to Putman that had been paid in during September 2009.
When invited to attend an interview to explain all his money, Putman at first claimed he hadn't touched his benefit payments. Checks revealed that to be a lie too and out of £8,000 in income support paid out by the DWP, Putman had spent around £5,500 of it.
Following Putman's first appearance in court last month, it has been revealed that in the early 1990's, he went to prison for seven years for raping a 17 year old woman at her home in Milton Keynes.
He also has a conviction for violence and two weeks ago a previous partner of Putman revealed that she had no idea he had won the money.
Paul Millan, defending, said: "It's a fraud on the tax payer and a fraud on the state."
Mr Millan said Putman had made a perfectly legal claim back in 2000 for benefits and it only became fraudulent when he failed to tell the authorities of his change in circumstances when he won the money.
Putman left court refusing to comment and will next be back in court later this month.