would this be fraud?

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Good afternoon, i was hoping someone can advise me on this matter as family i have discussed this with, think I’m overreacting. I have recently found out about this situation, which my sister has told me about and my father has now discussed with me briefly and I just see both of them getting into a lot of trouble.

My father had always worked and owned a couple of small properties which were rented out as well as his own house. just before he came of pension age, he sold the properties and asked my sister to hold onto a large some of money that was left after completing some home repairs and buying a 3 year old car, from what I’ve gathered about £30,000. My understanding is this was the inheritance for all of us in the future.

A few years after this when he became a pensioner he claimed benefits and his mortgage was being paid by housing benefit along with receiving the benefits you receive as a pensioner.

Fast forward to 2013 when my father found out that his endowment which ends in July 2015, wasn’t going to pay off his mortgage, there is a shortfall of about £25,000 so he has now asked my sister to transfer that amount to his bank account in June so he can pay the shortfall.

Now this all sounds very straightforward but I really don’t think it is. I don’t think you can just transfer large amounts of money around in this day and age and what about the benefits that have been paid out. I have discussed my concerns with my older brother but he seems undeterred, am i just being to sensitive?
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  • duchy
    duchy Posts: 19,511 Forumite
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    Of course it is fraud- Your father has deliberately concealed savings to claim thousands in benefits. I'd be disgusted with my father in those circumstances.

    They've dismissed your concerns so I'd let them get on with it-if he and your sister end up in court that's their problem - but under money laundering measures yes it'll likely be flagged.

    If they don't want to listen to you or think they are too clever to get caught then it's their funeral.
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  • McKneff
    McKneff Posts: 38,833 Forumite
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    Housing benefit is only paid if you are renting a property to live in.


    If you father has claimed means tested benefits then he was probably not entitled to this if he has £30K ;under the matress' so to speak.
    How is your aunt holding this money, in her own name, in a bank or what


    If this £30K is in your aunts name, she could just spend the lot on herself, its hers to do with what she wants if that's the case.
    make the most of it, we are only here for the weekend.
    and we will never, ever return.
  • NYM
    NYM Posts: 4,066 Forumite
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    If they find out, then your Dad might find he has a much greater shortfall than just his mortgage to pay.
  • p00hsticks
    p00hsticks Posts: 12,973 Forumite
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    summersunn wrote: »
    A few years after this when he became a pensioner he claimed benefits and his mortgage was being paid by housing benefit along with receiving the benefits you receive as a pensioner.

    This bit doesn't make sense - Housing Benefit is for people in rented accomodation, not for those with mortgages.

    The answer to your question is going to depend on exactly what benefits your father is/was getting and how long after he moved any money he started claiming. State Pension and Winter Fuel Allowance aren't means tested, nor are disability benefits such as DLA and PIP. But others are, and at the point he claimed he woudl have been asked what savings he had or if he'd recently gifted anything away. If he provided false information at that point in order to get benefits that he wouldn't otherwise have qualified for then yes, it would be fraud
  • Icequeen99
    Icequeen99 Posts: 3,775 Forumite
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    p00hsticks wrote: »
    This bit doesn't make sense - Housing Benefit is for people in rented accomodation, not for those with mortgages.

    The answer to your question is going to depend on exactly what benefits your father is/was getting and how long after he moved any money he started claiming. State Pension and Winter Fuel Allowance aren't means tested, nor are disability benefits such as DLA and PIP. But others are, and at the point he claimed he woudl have been asked what savings he had or if he'd recently gifted anything away. If he provided false information at that point in order to get benefits that he wouldn't otherwise have qualified for then yes, it would be fraud

    I am guessing that the OP may mean the mortgage interest part of pension credit?

    Either way OP, your Father has concealed money that belonged to him in order to claim benefits. At the very least there is likely to be some overpayment, at worst he could face penalties and prosecution.

    IQ
  • tomtontom
    tomtontom Posts: 7,929 Forumite
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    McKneff wrote: »
    Housing benefit is only paid if you are renting a property to live in.


    If you father has claimed means tested benefits then he was probably not entitled to this if he has £30K ;under the matress' so to speak.
    How is your aunt holding this money, in her own name, in a bank or what


    If this £30K is in your aunts name, she could just spend the lot on herself, its hers to do with what she wants if that's the case.

    I expect they mean help with mortgage interest ;)
  • thorsoak
    thorsoak Posts: 7,166 Forumite
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    As I understand it, if you have more than one property - let alone capital of £30,000 - then you cannot claim pension credit or any benefit pertaining thereto.
  • Happychappy
    Happychappy Posts: 2,936 Forumite
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    If the handouts your father applied for were means tested, then there is a clear intend to defraud, why else did he ask someone else to hide the money for him, not rocket science ?
  • DigForVictory
    DigForVictory Posts: 11,913 Forumite
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    Moving that amount of money? In one lump? Oh, it'll show up. Whether it rates as interesting enough rather depends on the weather but for HMRC, fraud investigations can go back 20 years.

    If they have the motherwit to move it as three lumps, staggered over time, they can make it look much more like a loan being repaid or something less exciting, but again, if anyone stops to look, then fraud investigations can go back 20 years.

    In your shoes, I'd mentally kiss that 'inheritance' goodbye & call the fraudline, as too much stress over time is really bad for you. It would impact on your family however, and they also cause stress over really long periods of time - better to pick whichever devil you can live with.

    And I rather agree with McKneff's cynical perception that if your aunt is holding the money you may not have an inheritance anyway.

    I think your family are behaving like ostriches but they are your family.
  • TELLIT01
    TELLIT01 Posts: 16,580 Forumite
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    A person can't hide money because the want to leave it as an inheritance and then claim income related benefits. It is fraud, and deliberate premeditate fraud in this instance.
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