BBC Rogue Traders presenter Dan Penteado jailed for £24,000 benefit fraud
Rogue Traders presenter Dan Penteado has been jailed for council tax and housing benefit fraud totaling £24,000.
The 40-year-old, who alongside fellow presenter Matt Allwright tracks down bogus workmen on the BBC show , was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison after previously admitting eight offences of dishonestly or knowingly claiming the benefits while not declaring earnings of more than £56,000 from the BBC.
Terrence Scanlan, Penteado's solicitor, told Bournemouth Magistrates court that the debt-ridden Portuguese presenter had originally made the "very poor judgment not to interrupt the flow of housing benefit" when he was re-recruited by the BBC on a part-time contract.
Mr Scanlan explained that Penteado first applied for benefit in 2007 when he was a student at Bournemouth University, adding: "In March 2008, the BBC contacted him and invited him to return to the programme he had previously worked on, Rogue Traders."
"Between March 2008 and September 2011 he had a series of short-term contracts. There was no continuous employment - a few days every month…It was this uncertainty of work that fed into his decision not to interrupt the flow of housing benefit", he said.
But Chairman of the bench John Corben told Penteado: "This is not a victimless crime, it is actually a crime of stealing from the public purse…It was planned over four years and it was calculated and we consider it so serious that only a custodial sentence is appropriate - you knew exactly what you were doing."
Penteado, who was only caught when a council housing benefit officer recognised him on Rogue Traders and matched the name to his fraudulent application, was then led to the cells by two security guards.
Earlier in the hearing Mr Scanlan told the court that Portuguese-born Penteado was a man of good character but was "sinking in debt" and owed £20,000.
"He is a man who has always worked hard, trying to improve himself and his circumstances. He is married, he has children, two young children - twins aged nine."
"This was not a man who was living extravagantly. He and his family were living quite frugally."
The solicitor said Penteado had "lost his burgeoning career in broadcasting and that itself is quite a punishment for him".
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