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In the Media

article imageOp-Ed: Rogue Traders star, Dan Penteado, guilty of benefit fraud

article:328817:1::0
By Melissa Horrocks
Jul 17, 2012 in Entertainment
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Dan Penteado, Rogue Traders star has been found guilty of benefit fraud. The court have sentenced him to 12 months jail sentence.
BBC News reports, Dan Penteado from BBC Rogue Traders' has been jailed for benefit fraud.
Penteado was working for the BBC whilst still in receipt of housing and council tax benefit. The Presenter admits the charges of benefit fraud and has been sentenced to 12 weeks in jail for benefit fraud that totals over £24,000.
Ironic that the show was about rogue traders trying to rip people off, yet the very presenter was doing the same thing. Penteado, a 40 year old from Bournemouth, admitted eight charges of dishonestly knowing that he was claiming housing and council tax benefits.
Bournemouth Magistrates' Court heard how he failed to declare his BBC earnings. In light of the situation, a spokesperson reporting on behalf of the corporation, said that Penteado would not be allowed to return to his former job with the BBC. The BBC have a reputation to keep and are not taking this lightly. On screen Penteado, was the sidekick of Rogue Traders celebrity, Matt Allwright. Penteado had worked on the television show since 2001.
The hearing was held at Bournemouth Magistrate's Court, in June. However, the benefit fraud dated back to 2007, when Penteado completed his first claim form and failed to declare he had another bank account.
Penteado was satisfied that he was getting away with the fraud, so much so, that he repeated the fraud in subsequent years right up till 2011. Penteado failed to inform Bournemouth Borough Council that he had received over £56,000 for his work on Rogue Traders from 2008 to 2011. He received both housing and council tax benefits of £24,077.
His solicitor Terrence Scanlan, who presented the case to the court, told them that the reason he had committed the fraud was that he was on a short-term contract with the BBC and subsequently, formed a bad decision, not to interrupt the flow of his housing benefit entitlement.
It was not until a member of staff dealing with the benefits claim noticed the television presenter from a newspaper article, that the council brought the prosecution.
The Telegraph reports, Councillor David Smith, cabinet member for planning and environment, said: "The amount of money stolen in this case is truly shocking. We are pleased that Mr Penteado has now been successfully prosecuted and brought to justice.
"The council will not tolerate benefit fraud and will always take action to ensure public funds are protected from abuse and available to support the most vulnerable in society."
Chairman of the magistrate's board, John Corben said that this was not an innocent crime, but a robbery that stole money from the public, in a very calculated manner.
Penteado was used to chasing bogus workmen with Matt Allwright, but he was keeping a bogus secret himself. Dorset police officers applied for an arrest warrant at Bournemouth Magistrates' Court because Penteado did not respond to mail sent by Bournemouth Borough Council.
Penteado's mother sent him to private school, something that most ordinary people would never be able to afford.
The fraud was calculated and planned over a course of four years, which is why a custodial sentence was deemed appropriate. However, in my opinion, it is wasting yet more tax payers money, by sending him to prison. Instead, he should be made to pay back what he owes and work in the community for a certain length of time, until the debt is paid back. Either that, or he should be forced to pay for his time in prison. Otherwise, it is just costing British tax payers even more money and that's not fair. That's just my opinion, though.
Express reports, the court informed a dazed Penteado, that his 12 month sentence would not be suspended. Penteado was dressed in a black jumper, black trousers, black tie and white shirt when he was escorted to the cells by two security guards. Mr Scanlan had informed the court early on that, Portugese Penteado, was of good character, but had run into misfortune and was sinking further into debt. Scanlan described him as a hard working man, who was trying to better himself and his circumstances. Penteado leaves two, young children and his wife as he carries out the prison sentence. His twins, aged 9, now have to live with the consequences of their father.
Penteado first claimed benefit at university in 2007. In March 2008, the BBC contracted him and invited him to return to the television show, he had previously worked on. Penteado did not hesitate to accept the offer. However, during March 2008 and September 2011 he only worked on short-term contracts.
Penteado had a beautiful, modern townhouse in Dorset, that the council were paying for. During this same, three year period he collected over £55,000 for his investigative work, dressed as a biker. Kerry O'Neill who was prosecuting, told Bournemouth Borough Council that Penteado had lied to officials about having an extra bank account. He did not declare this second bank account and lied about his employment basis on subsequent forms.
Since March 2012 Penteado has paid back three amounts of £70, but still owes £23,867.60. Penteado has been released on conditional bail, but will reappear at the same court, to be sentenced on July 17.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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