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Man hid his inheritance and continued to claim
A 53-year-old man who dishonestly pocketed £31,000 in benefits by hiding a “very substantial windfall” inherited from his father was jailed for seven months.
Prosecutor Jonathan Sharp said Bilbo defrauded the tax-payer of a total of £31,508, including £23,920 in Income Support, £6,026 in Housing Benefit and £1,561 in Council Tax Benefit, between 2006 and 2011.
The court heard that his original claim for Income Support in 2002 was honest. But in 2006 Bilbo inherited £43,000 from his father’s estate and did not reveal that to the authorities.
In 2008, he began dishonestly claiming Housing Benefit and a year later he compounded the fraud by also pocketing Council Tax Benefit to which he was not entitled.
His dishonesty was uncovered in June last year. Mr Sharp said the sum Bilbo inherited was a “very substantial windfall”.
Bilbo’s solicitor advocate, Tom Rushbrooke, said he was very sorry and deeply ashamed.
His benefit was stopped and he began paying back the money he had defrauded but had now run out of resources.
Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC said it was “a tragic case” for Bilbo and his family and the taxpayer.
Bilbo had suffered a number of illnesses and health problems over the years that made his original, means-tested, claim for Income Support wholly genuine.
But the money he inherited and concealed from the authorities was “indeed a substantial windfall”. The judge said such a sum would be a life-changing godsend to many people. Judge Durham Hall told Bilbo: “I must impose a sentence of imprisonment.”