Peter Lawless (Conservative)

Benefit Fraud

Aug 2014 saw the conviction of Peter Lawless, a Conservative member of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council, representing the Eaton Wick ward - for making nearly £5,000 of fraudulent housing benefit claims. The offence took place in the period between May 2011 and January 2014, when he was eventually found out.

For this, he received a two year conditional discharge courtesy of Slough Magistrates Court.

Prior to taking up his role on the council, Lawless was in receipt of housing benefit. Once elected, he didn't declare his council member allowance to the council's own housing benefit team. Likewise, whilst receiving the benefit he also failed to inform them of a pension lump sum and payments that arose from his retirement from his postion within the Post Office.

A cynical person could say he had inside knowledge and knew how to game the system. Fortunately for local taxpayers there was a whisteblower scheme called "Beat the Cheat" in operation. At least one of them made use of the facility, leading to the Lawless dirty deeds being discovered.

Once found to be guilty, he was expelled from the Conservative Party, though it was the only sanction that they could carry out. He decided to carry on in his role as a councillor until the next election, albeit as an independent.

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