Benefit fraud Lottery winner Edward Putman jailed


A convicted rapist who won nearly £5 million on the lottery but continued to fraudulently claim benefits has been jailed for nine months.

Edward Putman, 46, who was convicted of rape in 1993, won the life-changing sum in September 2009.

But he continued applying for housing benefit and income support and even wrote to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and his local council claiming he was broke and could not even afford to eat.

In reality he was splashing out on two sports cars and a new house.

Today at St Albans Crown Court, after admitting two counts of benefit fraud, he was jailed by Judge Andrew Bright QC.

The judge described Putman's fraudulent claims as "a pack of lies from start to finish" and said his letters to the authorities were "as calculated a piece of deception as anyone could imagine".

The judge told Putman he was "motivated by sheer greed" and continued to claim despite winning millions.

"It was greed on a scale which, frankly, defies belief, especially in an economic climate when welfare budgets are being cut and those who are properly entitled are struggling to make ends meet."

Judge Bright said Putman's fraudulent claims, which spanned 20 months, were so serious and his "culpability so grave" that Sentencing Guidelines Council advice about punishment has "little application to a case like this".

Putman, who was also ordered to pay £425 prosecution costs, began receiving income support in 2000 on the basis of being incapacitated by anxiety.

In order to do so he needed proof from his doctor of his mental health problems and signed a document confirming that he would notify the authorities if his condition changed.

But when he failed to attend a medical check-up in 2009, his benefits were suspended, before being officially ended in April the following year.

In July 2010, 10 months after being made a millionaire by his lottery win, he wrote to the DWP, begging them to reinstate his benefits.

He claimed he did not attend the medical examination because he was too ill.

"I lost a lot of weight and had lot to deal with," wrote Putman, of Station Road, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire.

"I didn't know whether I would still be alive. I'm on the brink of being evicted."

He also wrote to Dacorum Borough Council saying that he had been forced to survive on handouts from his family and friends, and had not been able to pay his council tax or rent, apart from putting £200 towards it, which he had borrowed from his family.

His benefits were then reinstated and were also back-dated, as he had asked them to be, to January 2010.

But that October the authorities became suspicious when Putman tried to buy his council house with £84,000 in cash.

Putman claimed he wanted to pay in cash because he did not have a bank account, but when the case was referred to Watford Fraud Section it was discovered that he did have one with £100,000 in it.

Detectives soon found the fraudster also had an account with St James's Bank - the bank recommended to lottery winners by operator Camelot.

Its records showed that, on September 10 2009, two large sums of cash were paid into his account with them - one for just over £2.5 million, and the other for £2.4 million, the court heard.

Putman's barrister Paul Millan said he repaid the money before pleading guilty at a magistrates court.

Putman claimed a total of £4,809 from Dacorum Borough Council between September 2009 and October 2010 for housing and council tax benefit, and £8,033 from the DWP between September 2009 and May last year.

Outside court, Sherri Bexon-Morgan, a DWP investigator, said "hard working families across the country" would be outraged by Putman.


Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot