Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Jackpot Joy to Fraud Abroad; Lottery Man and Sister Kept Claiming Benefits after Moving to Spain

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Jackpot Joy to Fraud Abroad; Lottery Man and Sister Kept Claiming Benefits after Moving to Spain

Article excerpt

Byline: Rob Kennedy ? 0191 201 6007 ? rob.kennedy@ncjmedia.co.uk

ALOTTERY millionaire has admitted claiming thousands of pounds in benefits despite starting a new life in Spain.

Lawrence Candlish, who claims to have spent the PS5.5m he won in 1997, pocketed thousands of pounds in state hand-outs while not even living in the United Kingdom.

His sister Melanie Batey, who received a sizeable share of the jackpot, also moved to Spain and continued claiming benefits here.

In total, the siblings received more than PS36,000 which they had no right to as Spanish residents.

Now the pair have been given suspended prison sentences after admitting the offences at Newcastle Crown Court.

Candlish appeared in court on crutches having had two hip replacements while Batey, a paraplegic, was in a wheelchair.

The 38-year-old had begun claiming disability living allowance legitimately in 2003 on the basis he was unfit to work. However when he moved to Santa Pola, near Alicante, in 2005, he did not inform the authorities.

Candlish wrote to the Department for Work and Pensions in 2009 saying he had moved to a different address in Gateshead and wanted to change his bank account details to one in his mother's name.

Susan Hirst, prosecuting, said: "That letter was fraudulent. The defendant had been living in Spain since at least 2005, when he registered as a resident there.

"If he had declared he was not a British resident, he would not have been entitled to the benefits."

Checks showed he had applied for a new passport in 2008 and gave his address as being in Santa Pola. Candlish was interviewed and admitted he had been living abroad.

Miss Hirst said: "He confirmed he had been living in Spain and said he moved there after he and his family won the lottery. He said he thought he was allowed to live abroad and still claim benefits."

Batey had started claiming income support and incapacity benefit legitimately in 2003. However, the 39-year-old followed her brother to Spain and also failed to tell the authorities. She registered as a Spanish resident in 2007 after moving to Santa Pola with her husband. …

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