Online Poker winner in benefits fraud trial

Online Poker winner in benefits fraud trial

Monday, 14 September 2009

No lesser authority than Doyle Brunson said that you must pay your taxes on poker winnings. Now that isn’t quite such a problem in the UK, given the tax-free nature of online poker, but the same principle should have applied to Norwich man, Alan Forsyth and his benefits claims.

The 36-year-old online player pleaded guilty to seven charges of benefit fraud, effectively cheating the taxpayer out of thousands of pounds of council tax benefit. He claimed that he had no savings when in fact he had six bank accounts full of money won from online poker. Forsyth, who had been unable to work due to a diagnosis of ME, claimed that he couldn’t fill out all the relevant forms.

Yvonne Blake, prosecuting for Norwich City Council said, “If you have the concentration to play poker to the extent that you can win $49,000 in a single day, you have the concentration to fill out a form.”

In mitigation, Forsyth’s solicitor said, ““This is not a well man. He suffers greatly with pains and fatigue. He has no potential prospect of being able to work again,” adding “He got stuck in his own web of deceit. He did start winning money and more accounts were opened. He was scared it would be backtracked to the original offence.”

Forsyth was ordered to pay a total of £1,400 plus costs.


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