A woman from Ashford, Kent, received a £400,000 inheritance and was then jailed for two years. These two events may not seem related, or the whole thing may seem rather nonsensical, but there is, in fact, a link between them. And it makes perfect sense in the end.
The problem was that Patricia Boaden concealed the large windfall she received, and continued to claim over £50,000 in benefits. She claimed the sum over a period of four years, even though at the same time she used her inheritance to purchase a holiday home near Disney World in Florida, which she rented out for £1300 a week.
When applying for benefits, one of the questions asked was whether Ms Boaden owned any property, land, or holiday homes either in the UK or abroad. Ms Boaden answered no, even though she had in fact owned the Florida home for a year before signing up for the extra cash.
Patricia Boaden’s defence was that she had been intending to put the money into a trust for her children, so she didn’t feel it really belonged to her. But this doesn’t account for the fact that Ms Boaden neglected to tell the council that she had a business – Sunshine and Blue Skies Escape – which had bought the property, giving her a profit. Neither did she mention that she had started and sold another company, Groundcare Solutions, which had brought her around £100,000.
Not only has Patricia Boaden been jailed for two years, but she also is under financial investigation, and will need to pay back the money that was given to her by the council.
So the moral of this story is: don’t try to hide an inheritance that you receive because if and when you are found out, the punishments can be severe.
A seven year jail sentence has been handed down to a man who carried out a scam that revolved around a supposed inheritance, and duped two people out of almost $2.4 million.
Don Brendan Robert was given the long prison term so that it could act as not just a punishment, but also as a deterrent, as more and more of these kinds of scams are being carried out. Robert pleaded guilty to just 25 charges of fraud, although he was charged with a total of 450.
Robert used the money that he scammed out of two separate men to fund a lavish lifestyle, and pay off previous debts. The scan revolved around the lie that he had been left a large amount of money by a relative, but that probate was taking a long time. Due to this, the managed to persuade two gentlemen to lend him large amounts of money after promising them that he would not only pay them back, but give them a percentage of his ‘inheritance’ once it came through.
Robert continued these lies for three years, spinning more and more elaborate tales as to why the inheritance had not yet come through. The main problem was that these imaginary funds had been seized by the Singapore government, and had been frozen by the Commercial Affairs Department.
Robert’s scam is thought to be the largest ever carried out in Singapore.
For many, being left money in someone's will – at least enough to make a difference – is akin to winning the Lottery, although with much sadder connotations attached (assuming those left behind knew and were close to the person who died).
But the chances of being left a vast inheritance are much higher than winning that multi million pound Lotto jackpot, so it can and does happen fairly regularly.
And it happened to a woman in Ashford, Kent.
Patricia Boaden, a 49 year old mother, not only received a £400,000 inheritance from her aunt, and she used some of that money to purchase a luxury holiday home in Florida (with five bedrooms, private cinema, and a heated indoor pool) which she then rented out to generate an income of around £1300 a week.
It sounds great – and why not use an inheritance to bring in an income? It's what many of us would do. But what many of us wouldn't do is to claim housing benefit at the same time. Neither would we not declare the inheritance. Unfortunately for Patricia, she did continue to claim housing benefit, and she didn't declare her inheritance.
In fact, she claimed over £50,000 over four years. But instead of using that money to pay her £1500 a month rent, she instead used it to buy luxuries, and maintain a lifestyle that she and her family had become more than accustomed to.
Boaden was found guilty of fraud (and this was compounded by the fact that she created a company to manage the property in Florida; the company made a profit but she did not declare that either), and jailed for two years.
Policeman forged will to claim all father’s money
We revealed recently that a policeman forged a will to claim all his father’s money.
When factory worker Ronald Hart died, he left behind £43,000 – and an unsigned will. Under the terms of this will, the money was to be divided between his surviving son and his niece.
His son however, police officer Darren Hart, felt that only half of this amount wasn’t enough, and that he needed to remove his niece from the equation.
After taking his niece Cherelle out to lunch for her birthday, he and his second wife then proceeded to sign probate forms which neglected to mention the fact that Miss Hart existed, before taking them to a solicitor’s office, claiming that Mr Hart was the sole surviving relative and should pocket all of the money himself.
During the court case, Mr Hart claimed that he didn’t realise that under normal probate terms, his niece would also be a beneficiary. The case still continues, but Hart claims that he expects to receive a suspended sentence and will be able to continue working as a policeman.
Receiving an inheritance can prove to be a curse for those on benefits, if they decide not to seek financial planning advice or the parents of the beneficiary did not take sound estate planning advice before making their will. This was the lesson learned by a man who claimed benefits despite receiving an inheritance.
The latest in a long line in benefit frauds has come to light, with Darlington man Peter MacGrathin continuing to claim council tax benefit and Jobseekers Allowance, despite having received and banked a total of £77,000 inheritance from his grandfather.
Instead of investing the money wisely to help him through this period of unemployment, MacGrathin blew the lot, leaving him penniless again.
Sadly (or perhaps not), he’s worse off now than when he started. In addition to still being unemployed and having no money, he’s also been ordered to repay the £4,806 which he received fraudulently in benefits and has received a 12 month community order with 100 hours unpaid work.
If the grandfather had reviewed his estate planning or updated his will he could have perhaps received advise with regards passing money to a beneficiary who is in receipt of means tested benefits.