A son who collected his dad’s work pension for seven years after the man died has been jailed for two years at Lincoln Crown Court.
Anthony Smith was eventually rumbled by HMRC but then contacted the pension fund claiming to be his dad and demanded to know why the payments had been stopped.
By then Smith, who had control of his late father’s bank account, had already pocketed over £50,000.
Smith,44, of Manor Way, Deeping St James, admitted a charge of fraud by false representation between 2007 and 2013.
Judge Michael Heath, passing sentence, told him: “This was fraudulent activity conducted over a sustained period of time.
“You had the gall to e-mail the pension provider purporting to be your deceased father .
“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.”
Almas Ben-Aribia, prosecuting, said that Smith’s father Roger, who was from Wrangle near Boston, worked for Royal Mail for 12 years until he was made redundant in September 1996.
He then claimed his work pension until his death in 2006. His widow Shirley then legitimately continued to receive the pension until she passed away 12 months later.
The pension should then have stopped but Smith failed to tell the pension fund and the money continued to be paid into the father’s bank account which was still being operated by Anthony Smith.
Miss Ben-Aribia told the court that the pension fund only discovered that Roger Smith was dead after being contacted by HMRC in 2013.
The prosecutor said: “Between the period of Roger Smith’s death in April 2006 and September 2013 the pension was continuously paid. The total amount was just short of £52,000.”
Eight months after the pension was stopped the Royal Mail received an email from someone claiming to be Roger Smith saying 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. The calls were traced back to a phone connected with Anthony Smith.
Mark Watson, in mitigation, said Anthony Smith continued to live with his brother at the family home after their parents died but struggled financially.
Mr Watson said: “There was no extravagant lifestyle. This is not a man who was greedy for money. He found himself where he felt, wrongly, that there was no alternative way to pay the mortgage.
“Once the pension stopped the house could no longer be afforded and it was sold.”