AN investigation into the finances of a benefits cheat who illegally claimed almost £50,000 has revealed he made £291,000 from other fraudulent activities.

Last month, Teesside Crown Court heard that Andrew Cason, 40, from Brompton, Northallerton, had £88,733.91 in “realisable assets” and a confiscation order was made under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to get the money. Cllr Mark Robson, leader of Hambleton District Council, said: “This is a great victory for the council – and for our fight against benefit fraud.”

The Court ordered that £49,905.85 of the £88,733 be paid to the authority as compensation for the benefits Cason had unlawfully claimed.

The remainder will be divided between the Home Office, the council and the Courts Service. Cason had pleaded guilty to obtaining almost £50,000 in benefits he was not entitled to and received 18 months imprisonment.

The criminal investigation uncovered evidence of undeclared bank accounts holding more than £80,000 belonging to Cason, with the money in his bank accounts and his other assets restrained pending the outcome of the Proceeds of Crime Act investigation.

The county council investigated Cason’s financial affairs and established he had received a considerable amount of income through his accounts from an unidentified source. Cason must pay the confiscation order amount within 60 days of the July 21 court hearing or face two years in jail.