Cheat pays just £1

A BRITISH expat living in Almeria has been ordered by a court to repay just £1 despite cheating taxpayers out of £60,000 (€77,000).

Seventy-three-year-old Jimmy Rickner swindled thousands of pounds from UK taxpayers by claiming he was a penniless pensioner living in Britain, but was actually married and living in a €102,000 villa in Almeria, according to MailOnline

Rickner was ordered to pay the nominal £1 as the Spanish villa is in his wife’s name and so cannot be seized as an asset. He was jailed for six months last year but appeared at Exeter Crown Court for a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing. The court heard that Rickner had benefitted to the tune of £60,353 (€77,491) by claiming he lived alone in Exeter, Devon, and subsequently claimed benefits by giving a false address. 

Recorder Nicholas Hall told the court: “This is not an attractive position for the court to adopt and frankly one has the feeling the Rickners have done rather well in the way they have managed things. 

“The court is presented with a dilemma. In plain terms, Rickner has ended up with no assets and his wife with a property in Almeria. It leaves the court a most unsatisfactory position. Rickner has enjoyed the benefit of accommodation for a considerable period of time.”

Under Spanish property law, Rickner has no stake in the villa in Almeria because the property is in his wife’s name. At the original hearing, Judge Barry Cotter QC, told Rickner he was a “financial parasite.”

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