Step Into Christmas Elton John
28 March 2014, 16:25
A former UKIP Cambridgeshire County Councillor and his wife have escaped jail despite swindling nearly £25,000 through benefit fraud.
Councillor Peter Lagoda and wife Maria, both 59, initially denied the charges against them but dramatically changed their plea at the start of their trial last month.
The pair had been accused of giving Fenland District Council a false address in a bid to claim extra benefits. Lagoda had claimed he lived in South Beach, Cambridgeshire., when instead he shared a property in Wisbech, with his wife.
It had been alleged the councillor and his wife falsely claimed £11,565 in income support, £2,346 in council tax and £10,949 in housing benefit.
But they were earlier told they would not face a custodial sentence.
Instead the pair were each handed a 12 month community order by Judge Sean Enright during a hearing at Peterborough Crown Court.
Lagoda had been elected to represent Wisbech South on Cambridgeshire County Council in May last year.
But he was suspended from UKIP after being charged by Cambridgeshire Constabulary with the fraud.
The county council confirmed Mr Lagoda was still a serving councillor.