A benefits cheat is being hunted for nearly £20,000 he made illegally by hiding his wife for more than a year.
The Crown has launched a proceeds of crime action against Barry Lowe after he admitted pretending he was a sole income earner.
Lowe, 44, failed to declare that he was living as husband and wife as he continued to claim a number of different benefits.
He admitted conning various agencies out of a total of £18,009 and prosecutors have now launched a bid to claw back the ill-gotten gains.
Solicitor Doug McConnell, defending, said Lowe had already started paying money back and disputed the need for a proceeds of crime action.
But the court heard Lowe would take more than 21 years to pay back the full amount at the current rate he is paying it back. The action was continued until April. Lowe previously admitted failing to declare a change of circumstances by not telling any of the agencies that his wife was contributing to the household income.
Dundee Sheriff Court was told that Lowe was living as a married couple with Angela Ferry for more than a year without telling the agencies.
Lowe, Stracathro Terrace, Broughty Ferry, admitted that between August 1 2016 and November 26 2017 he conned the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) out of £11,574.
He admitted failing to give the DWP prompt notification of a change of circumstances while he claimed Employment Support Allowance.
Lowe also admitted that between August 10 2016 and November 26 2017 he failed to notify Dundee City Council of the same change of circumstances. He conned £5,579 in housing benefit and £856 in council tax.
Mr McConnell said Lowe was paying the largest sum back at £50 per month and contributing a further £20 to the other amounts.
Mr McConnell said: “Given the amounts a custodial sentence will be in the court’s mind. He has difficulty with his health but would do unpaid work as an alternative to custody.”
Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown told Lowe: “It is clear you have accepted full responsibility and are hoping to make positive changes to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
She placed Lowe on a restriction of liberty order for four-and-a-half months, ordering him to stay indoors between 7pm and 7am each day.
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