Telford woman claimed jobseekers allowance despite £44,000 inheritance from her dad

A benefits cheat carried on claiming jobseekers allowance and housing benefit after inheriting £44,000 when her father died, a court heard.

Telford woman claimed jobseekers allowance despite £44,000 inheritance from her dad

When Lynne Booth was caught she told officials it was unfair that she was no longer entitled to get support from the authorities while foreigners were getting it.

Telford Magistrates Court was told she was overpaid a total of £4,430.15 after failing to tell Telford & Wrekin Council and the Department for Work and Pensions that she had more than the permitted £16,000 limit in her bank account to be able to claim those benefits.

Miss Abigail Hall, prosecuting, told the court that the 59-year-old's father had died leaving her £44,000, and that she did not declare the information as required.

But evidence later came to light that a payment of £44,000 had been made to her bank in October 2013.

Booth, of Hawkestone View in Ellerdine, near Telford, admitted two offences of dishonesty between December 2013 and May 2014.

Miss Hall said: "Lynne Booth was in receipt of jobseekers allowance and in May 2013 she also made a claim for housing benefit on the the basis that she was single and had no additional income.

"Following the death of her father she failed to notify the authority of the change in her circumstances. As a result of her failing to disclose that information an overpayment of £4,430.15 was made to her.

"She was interviewed under caution during which the defendant at first denied that she had done anything wrong. But when evidence was put to her about the inheritance money she admitted it.

"She said it wasn't fair because her father had worked for that money and she didn't see why she can't get benefits when people were coming in from other countries and getting benefits."

Booth, who represented herself in court, said: "I am deeply sorry for what I did. I had lost my father."

She told the court she was now in part-time work and had almost repaid the amount owed to the authorities.

Mr Nigel Atkinson, chairman of the bench, told Booth: "We have thought about this carefully because our guidelines lean towards giving you a community order, but we are not sure what that would achieve in your position. We are going to mark this offence with a fine.

"This is a crime which is effectively stealing from the public. But we have taken into account your remorse and the fact that you have been paying it back."

For dishonesty Booth was fined £89, ordered to pay victims' surcharge £20 and costs £185. She was given seven days to pay.

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