Fri, 08 Jul 2011
A West Midlands Police officer who cheated taxpayers out of more than £3,600 in a benefits con was ordered to do unpaid community work by a judge today.
Dc Stephen Murphy cashed housing benefit cheques for a former tenant after she had moved out of his property.
Murphy is a former beat bobby in Smethwick who resigned after admitting the fraud.
He let a room at his two-bedroom apartment at Pinfold Lane, Aldridge, out to Paula Pomeroy from December 2006 to July 2007.
Ms Pomeroy was on income support and entitled to weekly housing benefit of £64.62, which was paid direct to Murphy by Walsall Council every four weeks.
But after she moved back to her home city of Plymouth, Murphy failed to inform the authority of the change. He continued to accept the cheques from August 2007 to August 2008, despite being in a relationship with her and knowing she was living in Plymouth,the court heard.
The total overpayment was £3,618. The fraud only came to light when Ms Pomeroy started to claim housing benefit from Plymouth City Council.
Murphy, who was with the police for 22 years, initially refused to co-operate but later pleaded guilty to 14 fraud charges.
Mr Phil Bradley, defending, said Murphy had lost £100,000 in a failed Spanish property venture and the fraud was committed in an effort to “make ends meet”.
Mr Bradley told Wolverhampton Crown Court he now faced losing his £210,000 home and had no income. He said: “He is a broken man in terms of his reputation, but he is broke in times of his financial situation.” Today Judge John Warner ordered him to complete 240 hours of unpaid work over 12 months. He ordered him to pay just £1,200 of the £11,010 costs.
Click to view the profile for Phil Bradley - Defending