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Man hid £66,000 so he could claim disability benefit

A MAN hid £66,000 in secret bank accounts so he could fraudulently claim disability handouts.

Morgan Couper stashed his savings in accounts he did not declare to benefits bosses when he claimed Employment and Support Allowance, the payment that replaced incapacity benefit.

Dundee Sheriff Court heard Couper, 43, of Golf Crescent, Tayport, had claimed the payment for almost two years after having told bosses his savings were below the £16,000 maximum allowed to claim benefits.

But a tip-off to officers of HM Revenue & Customs led to an investigation that uncovered the hidden cash.

Fiscal depute Keith Robertson told the court: "The accused claimed between November 7, 2010 and September 8, 2012.

"Information was received by HMRC to the effect he may have capital was not declared in his applications.

"A number of bank accounts were not disclosed and were found during an inquiry.

"The accused was contacted and interviewed and admitted from the outset he had those bank accounts."

Couper pleaded guilty to a charge under the Social Security Administration Act.

He had initially been charged with fraudulently claiming£12,389.80, but prosecutors accepted his guilty plea to obtaining £9,012.62 to which he was not entitled.

Jim Caird, defending, said: "The full sums have been repaid.

"He is a man who cares for his elderly mother, who is quite frail."

Sheriff Charles Macnair, QC, deferred sentence until August 28 for criminal justice social work reports.

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