UK & World News
Rogue Traders TV Presenter Jailed For Fraud
A television presenter whose job was to prevent people being ripped off has been sentenced to 12 weeks in prison for benefit fraud.
Dan Penteado, who worked on the BBC's Rogue Traders and Watchdog programmes, admitted eight offences of dishonestly or knowingly claiming council tax and housing benefits worth more than £24,000.
Bournemouth magistrates heard how he had neglected to mention earning more than £56,000 for his television work over three years.
The 40-year-old failed to tell officials about one of his bank accounts when he first filled in a claim form in 2007 and repeated the fraud over four subsequent years.
The court heard that Penteado, who has worked alongside television presenter Matt Allwright since 2001, "received £24,077.60 in housing and council tax benefit he wasn't entitled to".
Penteado's solicitor, Terrence Scanlan, told the court that his client had never had permanent work at the BBC, only a series of short-term contacts.
Deeply in debt and with a young family to support, Penteado decided not to interrupt the flow of housing benefit, a decision "he recognises now as a very, very poor judgement on his part".
Penteado was caught only when a council housing benefit officer recognised him on Rogue Traders and matched the name to his fraudulent application.
Bournemouth Council, which brought the prosecution, is trying to recover all of the money. So far, Penteado has paid back £210.
In the last series of Rogue Traders he and Mr Allwright tracked down eight bogus workmen they believed had ripped off customers.
But the court heard how Penteado, who also works as a private investigator, had not responded to letters sent to him by the council.
He handed himself in after an arrest warrant was issued following his failure to appear before magistrates to answer several charges of fraud.
Chairman of the bench John Corben told Penteado: "This is not a victimless crime, it is actually a crime of stealing from the public purse.
"It was planned over four years and it was calculated and we consider it so serious that only a custodial sentence is appropriate - you knew exactly what you were doing.
"You will be sentenced to 12 weeks in prison and it will not be suspended."
A dazed Penteado, who was dressed in a black jumper, black trousers, black tie and white shirt was escorted to the cells by two security guards.