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Watford benefits cheat, Sally Roach, who bought pub after receiving inheritance money fined
A Watford woman continued to claim benefits after receiving a £100,000 inheritance windfall and buying a pub in Cornwall.
Sally Roach, of Cecil Street, continued to claim council tax benefit and employment support allowance after receiving an inheritance of £110,000 from her late father.
Watford Borough Council received an anonymous tip off suggesting Mrs Roach had received an inheritance payment and then purchased a pub in Cornwall.
A joint investigation was then undertaken by Watford Borough Council and the Department for Work & Pensions.
Roach was interviewed under caution in October 2012 by fraud officers at Cornwall Council.
She admitted that she had received inheritance payments and also confirmed that she had taken on a lease for a pub.
Roach was invited for a further interview under caution in June 2013, but refused to attend.
Watford Borough Council and the Department for Work & Pensions recalculated Mrs Roach's benefits, taking into account her inheritance.
It was decided that she was no longer entitled to benefit and was overpaid £3,483 in Employment Support Allowance and £276 in council tax benefit.
Roach pleaded not guilty and elected to go to trial. On Friday, January 3 2014, she appeared before Watford Magistrates Court where she changed her plea to guilty and was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £1,500 prosecution costs.
Councillor Mark Watkin, cabinet member, said: "Our consistent success in prosecuting benefit fraud cases acts as a powerful statement of intent from Watford Borough Council.
"We vigorously tackle all forms of benefit fraud in the borough. Anyone who is honest has nothing to fear, however we must always ensure that benefits reach those who need them the most."
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