Ex-pub landlord locked up after false benefit claims

12:10 15 January 2013

A former pub landlord has been jailed for a year after pocketing more than £17,000 intended for a dead man.

Stephen Sussams, of Marston Way, Norbury, received the money after it was paid into the deceased’s bank account, which he had access to as the deceased’s carer.

The 59-year-old, who ran the Royal Dart Hotel in Devon, also illegally claimed more than £14,000 in housing and council tax benefit after failing to tell the council he was living with his civil partner, Croydon Council said.

He was sentenced at Croydon Crown Court on Friday to eight months in jail after being convicted in December of one count of theft, and four months for dishonestly making a false statement or representation to run consecutively.

He was also handed four month sentences after he was convicted of three counts of fraud by failing to disclose information, to run concurrently.

The Royal Dart was known for its £125 champagne and truffle beefburger, said to be among the most expensive burgers in the world.

Croydon Council said it has launched confiscation proceedings against Sussams and will examine his assets to see what he gained.

Deputy leader, Cllr Dudley Mead, said: “I applaud the council’s investigators for bringing this complicated case to a successful conclusion.

“It serves as a clear warning that those who seek to cheat the benefits system and defraud honest taxpayers out of hard-earned money should know that the council and the courts will punish them with the maximum penalty available.”

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