Benefits cheat hid inheritance

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A BENEFITS cheat failed to declare she had inherited £150,000, and claimed nearly £32,000 to which she was not entitled.

But Caroline Greatorex, aged 52, walked free from court with a four-month jail term suspended for 18 months, after admitting failing to notify a change of circumstances which would affect her entitlement.

A judge at Derby Crown Court told Greatorex she had ‘deliberately’ and ‘dishonestly’ stolen £31,945 in income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit.

Annabel Hamilton, prosecuting, said Greatorex made a legitimate claim for income support and incapacity benefit in July 2005.

But, five years later, £150,000 was found in a Barclay’s bank account belonging to her.

Miss Hamilton said although her incapacity benefit would not be affected, she should have declared the inheritance because other benefits were stopped when savings reached £16,000.

She said £59,000 had since been withdrawn from Greatorex’s bank account adding: “We feel Miss Greatorex still has the money, albeit not in a bank account.”

Sarah Brown, defending, said: “She says money has been given away to family members.”

Judge John Wait told Greatorex, of Birchwood Crescent, Chesterfield, she must observe a curfew for four months. He put her under the supervision of the probation service for a year.