Benefits cheat caught by Gok Wan show
Filed under: News
He had been claiming council tax, jobseekers' allowance, and housing benefits, until he was unmasked by the Gok Wan show, How to Look Good Naked.
Know your rights
CaughtHe had been on the show to support his girlfriend, Antoinette Furlonge, who also happened to be his landlady. The fact that the two of them were in a relationship meant he was no longer eligible to collect a number of benefits, but he hadn't disclosed this and was continuing to pick up the cash.
According to the Waltham Forest Guardian, between spring 2010 and autumn 2011, he defrauded the council out of £14,379 in housing and council tax benefit and £4,924 in Job Seekers Allowance.
Unfortunately for him, his benefits assessor was watching the show, spotted him, and raised the alarm. Gocul pleaded guilty to failing to declare his change in circumstances, and according to The Daily Mail, was sentenced to 120 hours community service and ordered to attend Skills for Life education training. He also had to pay the council £250 in costs.
The Waltham Forest Guardian quoted Councillor Mark Rusling, saying: "Bare-faced cheek seems to be the appropriate phrase to describe the behaviour of this individual. Ripping off the public purse to the tune of nearly £20,000 is pretty despicable, but it almost beggars belief for him to then flaunt his relationship on the telly and expect to get away with it."
Not aloneIt makes you wonder what Gocul was thinking. But before we judge him too harshly, it's worth bearing in mind that he's far from the only benefits cheat exposed by something that a more sophisticated crook might have avoided.
In January we reported the tale of the man who was jailed for cheating the taxpayer out of £80,000 in disability payments, while working in a gym.
The same month, Bury Magistrates Court sentenced a couple to community work and a suspended jail sentence, after they claimed to be landlord and tenant, and then publicised their relationship and marriage on the wife's Facebook page.
Then, in November last year, a man was caught stealing £100,000 in benefits, after filling in the names of his disability carers in a variety of names - including D Duck and P Shiltern.
And in summer last year there was the man with £90,000 in the bank who had been claiming benefits and assumed no-one would bother to check his account.
It seems that not all fraudsters are criminal masterminds.