Mum dishonestly claimed £40k in benefits after inheriting family cash

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A mother has been given a suspended jail sentence for dishonestly claiming more than £40,000 in benefits.

Leeds Crown Court heard Tracey Louise Gadd’s initial claim for income support and housing and council tax benefit was legitimate.

But prosecutor Amanda Johnson said she failed to notify her change of circumstance after receiving an inheritance following her father’s death.

She had savings in the bank of just over £35,000 – more than double the limit of £16,000 allowed – after inheriting the money in August 2011.

From that time onwards her savings ranged from £27,000 to £52,000.

She was claiming benefits as a single parent with two dependent children, one of whom suffers from cystic fibrosis.

As a result of her dishonesty she was paid £26,141 in income support, £17,285 in housing benefit and £1,154 in council tax benefit.

When her offences came to light she admitted knowing she should have reported receiving the inheritance.

She initially claimed that she had only got the money in January last year, but accepted she had got the money earlier when told her bank statements could be obtained.

Miss Johnson said a restraining order had been placed on the bank account which still had £16,000 in and Gadd had agreed that should go to Kirklees Council and the Department of Work and Pensions as compensation.

Gadd, 38 of Whitcliffe Road, Cleckheaton, admitted two charges of failing to notify a change in circumstance.

The court was told she had work as a part-time cleaner and has three children, one who was now an adult.

A probation officer said Gadd would benefit from attending a woman’s group.

Judge Christopher Batty said he would not jail her immediately because she had a family who needed her love and support.

“I can see how you are today and from your letter about how sorry you are for what you have done but there is really no excuse is there.

“No doubt you thought this is my inheritance, I don’t want to be frittering it away on just living expenses. The problem was the state were paying for your living when you could afford to pay for yourself.”

He imposed a 24 week jail sentence suspended for 12 months with a medium level activity requirement.