Lottery winner rapist Edward Putman admits fraud


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The Independent Online

A convicted rapist who won nearly £5 million on the lottery admitted fraudulently claiming around £13,000 in benefits today.

Edward Putman pleaded guilty to two counts of benefit fraud when he appeared at St Albans Magistrates' Court in Hertfordshire.

The 47-year-old continued applying for housing benefit and income support after receiving his windfall in September 2009, even writing letters to the Department for Work and Pensions and his local council claiming he was broke and could not even afford to eat.

In reality Putman, who was convicted of rape in 1993, was living the high life, splashing out on two sports cars and a new house.

Magistrates said the offences were too serious for sentencing under the powers available to them, and the case was committed to St Albans Crown Court on July 24.

The court heard Putman began receiving income support in 2000 on the basis of his being incapacitated by anxiety issues.

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 Department of Work and Pensions, 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," he wrote.

"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.

The court heard that his benefits were then reinstated and were also back-dated, as he had asked them to be, to January 2010.

But the court heard that the authorities became suspicious when, that October, he went to the council asking if he could buy his council house under the right-to-buy scheme, telling them he had the £84,000 needed to buy it 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.

Further investigation then found that Putman 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, prosecutor Hita Mashru said.

Putman was invited to be interviewed under caution, in which he said he had not spent any of the money he received in benefits because he knew it would have to be paid back.

The court heard he claimed a total of £4,809.18 from Dacorum Borough Council between September 2009 and October 2010, and £8,033.59 from the Department for Work and Pensions between between September 2009 and May last year.

"When you look at the entirety of the facts in full in relation to how this has gone about, it's very calculating," Ms Mashru said.

She added that Putman had opted not to go public with his lottery win.

"You may see that it's very clear why. He has previous convictions and the fact that he was claiming benefits, clearly any publicity would have warned the Department for Work and Pensions that he was a person who should not have been receiving benefits."

During mitigation, the court heard that the defendant had admitted his deceit during questioning and had now paid back the money he owed in full.

Bearded Putman, of Station Road, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, sat at the front of the court dressed in a grey anorak and grey trousers.

He was released on unconditional bail until his sentencing.