Clitheroe benefits cheat builder to pay back £11,000

Burnley Crown Court.
Burnley Crown Court.

A benefits cheat Clitheroe builder has sold his Audi Quattro and personalised number plate to help pay back the £11,000 he owes the public purse, a court was told

Paul Bialecki (45), has now got six months to hand over the £11,085.69 he got fraudulently, or face seven months behind bars.

Bialecki appeared at Burnley Crown Court on Friday for a proceeds of crime hearing. Recorder Paul Reid QC found he had benefited by that amount and made a confiscation order for it. The court was told he had available assets of £23,049.03.

Bialecki’s barrister Mr Karl Berry told the hearing the builder, who was self- employed, fully intended to pay the full amount within the six months,

At the earlier sentencing hearing, the court had been told how Bialecki got money he wasn’t entitled to by claiming he didn’t have a wife. He was said to have had an on/off relationship with spouse Janet, but she had never permanently moved out of the home they shared in Clitheroe. When he was found out, he was to tell the Department for Work and Pensions he and his wife couldn’t live with each other and couldn’t live without each other.

Bialecki, who was said to sometimes suffer serious depression, had admitted three counts of fraud, committed between January 2011 and July 2013, and had been committed for sentence by magistrates. The defendant, of Whittle Close, Clitheroe, had been given a community order with 12 months supervision and 150 hours unpaid work.

The DWP prosecutor told Burnley Crown Court that Bialecki claimed Employment and Support Allowance, to which he was not entitled, on three separate occasions.

Investigations showed the defendant and his wife had never permanently separated. Mrs Bialecki worked at Sainsburys for 25 hours-a-week during the period of the deception. The couple had been on two holidays together and the bills were paid out of Mrs Bialecki’s bank account.

The prosecutor said the defendant was questioned twice, on September 3rd and October 8th. During the first interview, he accepted it was important to give correct information and accepted his wife had not officially left. On the second occasion, he said he felt sick after the previous interview. He told officials he and his wife couldn’t live with each other and couldn’t live without each other. They never had any particular intention to split up definitely.

Mr Berry had earlier told the court Bialecki had experienced a number of unfortunate instances in his Iife which had a profound effect upon him. He had long-standing difficulties. The barrister had added: “He is at pains to confirm he wishes to make full reparation. He has also indicated his personal shame at the offending.”