12 Dec 2013

Benefit cheat carried on claiming despite inheriting £45,000

A benefit cheat has been ordered to carry out community service after he falsely claimed more than £4,000 from the taxpayer — despite receiving a windfall inheritance. (h/t Dave)

Michael Foley, aged 57, received £45,658 in his father’s will after both his parents died in 2011.

He gave £30,000 to his son and spent the rest on electrical goods and his parents’ outstanding affairs — but carried on claiming housing benefit, council tax and income support for six months until his inheritance was uncovered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Bolton Magistrates Court heard Foley received more than £4,000 in benefits he was not entitled to.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to notify Bolton Council about a change in circumstances.

Defending barrister, Mohammed Patel, said Foley was very sorry for the error, and had started to pay the money back to the council as money was being deducted from his benefits payments.

He added: “It was a difficult period for him and he didn’t know how to deal with the whole situation.”

Foley had legitimately claimed benefits since 2002, after he suffered a stroke.

He was sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid community service, with costs of £250.

Magistrate Anthony Taylor warned Foley to keep the authorities informed if his circumstances changed again. He said: “This is a serious matter, so serious we are going to impose a community order for 12 months.”

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