A Deepings fraudster who claimed nearly £52,000 of his father’s work pension for seven years after his death has been jailed for two years.
Anthony Smith (44), of Manor Way, Deeping St James, had already pocketed more than £50,000 before he was finally rumbled by tax investigators from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
You had the gall to email the pension provider, purporting to be your deceased father, and then the sheer brass neck to follow it up with two telephone calls purporting to be your father, saying ‘Why isn’t my pension being paid?’Judge Michael Heath at Lincoln Crown Court
Despite this, Smith then contacted the pension fund claiming to be his father, Roger Smith who died in April 2006, and demanding to know why the payments had been stopped as he had control of his late father’s bank account.
Smith was sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court on Wednesday after he admitted a charge of fraud by false representation between 2007 and 2013.
Almas Ben-Aribia, prosecuting, said Roger Smith, of Wrangle, had worked for Royal Mail for 12 years until he was made redundant in September 1996.
Mr Smith then claimed his works pension until his death in 2006 before his widow Shirley then legitimately continued to receive the pension until she passed away 12 months later.
Miss Ben-Aribia said: “The pension should then have stopped, but Smith failed to tell the pension fund and so the money continued to be paid into the father’s bank account which was still being operated by Anthony Smith.
“The pension fund only discovered that Roger Smith was dead after being contacted by HMRC in 2013.
“Before this point, between the period of Roger Smith’s death in April 2006 and September 2013, the pension was continuously paid with the total amount being just short of £52,000.”
The court heard that eight months after the pension was stopped, the Royal Mail received an email from someone claiming to be Roger Smith which said he had not received his pension for some months and he wanted to know why.
After that, two telephone calls were made to the pension fund from a man who said he was Roger Smith but the calls were eventually traced back to a phone connected with Anthony Smith.
Jailing Smith, Judge Michael Heath said: “This was fraudulent activity conducted over a sustained period of time.
“You had the gall to email the pension provider purporting to be your deceased father and you then had the sheer brass neck to follow it up with two telephone calls purporting to be your father, saying ‘Why isn’t my pension being paid?’”.
Mark Watson, in mitigation, said Smith had continued to live with his brother at the family home after their parents died but struggled financially.
“There was no extravagant lifestyle and this is not a man who was greedy for money,” Mr Watson said.
“Smith found himself where he felt, wrongly, that there was not an alternative way to pay the mortgage.
“Once the pension stopped, the house could no longer be afforded and it was sold.”