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Monday, March 1, 1999 Published at 19:26 GMT


Clowes jailed for benefits fraud

Former financier Peter Clowes is back behind bars after being jailed for a 1,800 benefits fraud.

Clowes, 56, started making false claims 10 months after being released from a 10-year sentence over the collapse of his investment company Barlow Clowes in 1992.

A jury took three hours to return unanimous verdicts at Mold Crown Court in north Wales on all three charges, which Clowes had denied.

Jailing Clowes for four months, Judge John Rogers QC said the fraud was "sophisticated" and "deliberate".

He told the court that had it not been for a change in the law, Clowes could have been ordered to serve some of the remainder of his previous sentence.

[ image: Clowes: Guilty on all three charges]
Clowes: Guilty on all three charges
During the five-day trial, the jury heard that Clowes was accused of three specimen charges over a four-month period from December 1996 to March 1997.

Robin Spencer, prosecuting, said Clowes had been working for a computer company in London called WP Software.

However, he left that job and began claiming benefit while living with his wife and two children in a rented 800-a-month four-bedroomed home in Macclesfield, Cheshire.

Clowes then signed on and every fortnight he renewed a declaration which stated he had not been working.

But the prosecution said that in fact he was earning from a business trading under the name of PC51.

Mr Spencer said PC51 was set up by Mr Clowes's step-daughter and her boyfriend and he was paying his household bills from the business bank account.

Clowes was being "paid through the back door", he added.

The court heard that Clowes was designing computer software for two firms at an old mill in Bollington, Cheshire.

Both firms were being run by Christopher Jones and Philip Rich, the boyfriend of Nicola Haydock, Clowes' step-daughter.

The court was told that PC51 invoiced the accident claim firm Crash Direct and window company Artic Shields for new databases.

Clowes then paid his rent, an electricity bill and the car tax on his wife's car from the PC51 account.

He said the money from PC51 was a loan and that 3,000 was paid in to the business account from his parents.

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