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Perthshire benefit fraudster on curfew after paying back missing thousands

Paul Barty has paid back the stolen money.
Paul Barty has paid back the stolen money.

A benefit fraudster who spent the last 12 months paying back thousands he stole from the public purse has been ordered to stay at home every night for five months.

Last year, Paul Barty admitted conning the DWP out of £3,628.95 by telling them he was only living with his mother, for whom he was carer, in Clayton Road, Bridge of Earn.

He admitted failing to tell the agency he was, in fact, living with his employed husband while claiming Income Support between July 8 2014 and June 1 2015.

The 50-year-old had been told to be of good behaviour for a year and pay back the cash in full.

At a previous hearing, Perth Sheriff Court heard there been an anonymous report Barty had been living with his partner.

Prosecutors said “a great deal of inquiries” were carried out and Barty’s husband was called in to be interviewed by DWP investigators in February 2017.

It was explained at the time the DWP investigation led to Barty being cautioned and charged in February 2017 but nothing was passed to the Crown until 2019.

Barty had faced a further charge of conning the agency out of another £3664.21 between between February 2016 and January 2017 but that was dropped by the Crown.

Paid back

On Wednesday, Barty’s solicitor John McLaughlin explained despite having some difficulty with having payments accepted, the cash was back in public hands.

Mr McLaughlin also confirmed his client had not been in any further trouble with the law.

He said: “He was placed on deferred sentence on March 22 2021, to be of good behaviour and for money to be repaid.

“He has tried to set up his own business. Unfortunately that was affected by Covid-19.

“Since then, he’s not had the best of health.

“He’s certainly in a position to pay a fine. There’s no particular focus for a supervised order.”

Sheriff Gillian Wade told Barty: “Benefits frauds are frauds that affect everybody.

“If went unchecked, a significant amount of public money would have been lost.”

She placed him on a restriction of liberty order, banning him from leaving his home between 7pm and 7am for five months.

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