'Benefits cheat' Elvis Presley impersonator 'falsely claimed £33,000'

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An Elvis impersonator has been accused of claiming £33,000 in disability benefits while he was working as a  self-employed tribute act.

Joseph Thompson, 59 – aka Joe Marcell – is accused of fraudulently claiming disability living allowance from the Department for Work and Pensions over 10 years up to October 2018.

He allegedly exaggerated the extent to which his medical condition affected his physical mobility.

Thompson, from Blackpool, is accused of fraud while he was working as an Elvis impersonator across Lancashire.

He arrived in court yesterday sporting The King’s famous ­sideburns and walking with a stick.

The defendant on stage as Elvis tribute act Joe Marcel

Thompson pleaded not guilty to four counts of fraud.

Prosecutor Malcolm Isherwood told Blackpool magistrates: “These allegations are in effect that the defendant misrepresented to the Department for Work and Pensions the limitations of his mobility.

“As a result of the misrepres­entations the Crown allege the defendant has received an over­payment in excess of £33,000.

He walked into magistrates’ court in Blackpool with a stick

“Bearing in mind his offence relates to the misappropriation of public funds and the amount involved, the Crown say this is not something that can be dealt with by trial in this court.”

Bench chairman David Hearton said: “The sentencing guidelines, should you prove guilty, exceed our sentencing powers so this matter now will go to crown court to be determined.”

The case was sent to Preston crown court where Thompson is due to appear next month.

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