A Merseyside man was found guilty of claiming over £14,500 in benefits including Jobseekers’ Allowance and Housing Benefit, while he was co-owner of a holiday home and a block of flats.
Craig McParlan, 50, of Kestrel Court, Blundellsands, pleaded guilty to three counts of theft when he appeared before Sefton magistrates in Bootle. The court heard that McParlan had claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance and Housing Benefit despite being a co-director with his parents of a property company that owned a property on the Spanish Island of Majorca, as well as a block of flats in Crosby – one of which was occupied by Mr. McParlan.
Sue Cain, prosecuting on behalf of Sefton council, said the fraud began in September 2008, when Mr. McParlan began claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance. He went on to claim housing and council tax benefits in January, 2010. In total, Mr. McParlan dishonestly obtained £6,097.82 in Jobseekers’ Allowance and £7,482.42 in housing benefit and £1133.49 in council tax benefit, for a total of £14,713.73.
‘The claim was made on the basis he had no discernible capital and Jobseekers’ Allowance was his only form of income. The applicant signed a statement that this information was complete,’ Ms. Cain explained. In fact Mr. McParlan had seven undeclared bank accounts in addition to the properties. ‘These matters were dishonest from the outset,’ Ms. Cain went on.
‘When he was interviewed, McParlan said he did have an apartment in Spain registered in his name but that he was not the owner and it belonged to his father.,’ Ms. Cain continues. In fact, ‘he owned the property in Spain and had an interest in the apartment block where he was living along with the additional bank accounts.’
David Kielty, defending, said although the properties were in McParlan’s name he had not benefitted financially from them.
Sentencing was adjourned until November 22 for probation reports.