Man jailed six weeks for fraud is freed after three days

ONLY a few days into his sentence, a man jailed for six weeks after falsely claiming more than £13,000 in benefits was freed. Christian De Vriess, aged 43, of Richard Stagg Close, St Albans, had pleaded guilty to claiming income support, housing benefit

ONLY a few days into his sentence, a man jailed for six weeks after falsely claiming more than £13,000 in benefits was freed.

Christian De Vriess, aged 43, of Richard Stagg Close, St Albans, had pleaded guilty to claiming income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit at St Albans Magistrates Court on August 18 when he maintained he was not working.

But a hotline tip-off led to an investigation which showed he had been working as a driver cum porter for various firms during that period.

Despite his solicitor claiming he suffered from severe panic disorder which meant prison would be an undesirable option for him, magistrates sent him to prison after arguing that a community sentence would be unsuitable as he was unfit for work and could not use public transport because of his claustrophobia.


You may also want to watch:


De Vriess appealed to St Albans Crown Court against his sentence and was freed by a judge on August 21.

The judge took into account a number of factors which included his early guilty plea, his medical history which includes panic attacks and the fact that he had been making repayments and not living a lavish lifestyle.

Most Read

Different sentencing guidelines resulted in the judge imposing a community order on De Vriess which means he must observe a 7pm to 7am curfew for six months.

Chris Oxley, St Albans District Council's portfolio holder for resources, said: "Although the sentence has been changed by the Crown Court, the original prison sentence would only have run for six weeks. He now has six months during which he will have to forfeit large amounts of free time in penance for his fraud.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter