A CONVICTED housing benefit fraudster from North Yorkshire has been ordered to pay back more than half a million pounds within a year.

Dennis Morris, 59, from Low Row, Port Mulgrave near Whitby, was jailed in September 2010 following a three year fraud investigation by North Yorkshire and South Yorkshire Police and the North East Regional Asset Recovery Team.

They found he had been living with his long-term partner, Susan Clarke, 51, from Sheffield, but since 1984 he had pretended to be her landlord.

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Following his arrest in 2007, other documents were discovered which showed he was using other identities in the Sheffield area and claiming benefits himself.

Investigators also found the attic of a derelict property in Sheffield had been used as a makeshift office to coordinate the large-scale fraud.

The fraudsters had created numerous identities from addresses which they had either bought or rented and obtained credit and bank accounts under these false names. They also obtained drivers’ licences and bought vehicles under their false identities.

Morris was jailed for four years.

Also convicted for their part in the fraud was David Smith, 58, from Sheffield and Susan Clarke.

Smith was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison, and Clarke served a 21-month sentence.

At Sheffield Crown Court on Tuesday, November 20, it was determined the three had benefited by a total of more than £2.2m from the proceeds of their crimes.

Morris was found to have made £1,060,000 from his crimes and given one year to pay back £544,896  or face a further three years in prison.