Benefits cheat hid £50k inheritance

A woman has been given a suspended jail sentence for fraudulently claiming £15,000 in benefits despite having received an inheritance amount of approximately £53,000 by her late father.

The court heard how Donna Smith, aged 23, attempted to hide the inheritance by transferring money into her mother's account and a newly created account for her son. She told the council that she had only received an inheritance of £1,133 and continued to collect Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. An anonymous tip-off resulted in Fenland District Council and the Department for Work and Pensions conducting a detailed investigation, which uncovered the £53,000 left to Ms Smith by her father in July 2009.

Ms Smith has now repaid all the falsely claimed money to the council, and the court sentenced her to 12 weeks in jail, though it was suspended for 12 months. She was ordered to pay costs and will be subject to a curfew for the next 3 months.

If you have received an inheritance or believe you are due to receive a share of someone's estate you should take specialist legal and tax advice about the potential ramifications of a dramatic increase to your assets. Contact Wilson Nesbitt solicitors in Northern Ireland for advice on will making, inheritance tax or any other estates matter by email at .

Contact us for legal advice