British mum convicted of claiming £50k in benefits while owning a luxury holiday home near Disneyland Florida – which she rented out for £1,500 a week
A woman who claimed more than £50,000 in benefits while owning a luxury villa in Florida villa which she rented out for £1,300 a week faces jail.
Patricia Boaden, 49, claimed housing benefits and council tax for four years, despite owning the five bedroom, £200,000 villa complete with cinema and heated indoor swimming pool.
Boaden rented the property near Disney World while claiming benefit and failed to declare the income to benefit officials.
In September 2008 she began claiming housing benefits and continued until she was caught cheating in November 2012 after pocketing more than £43,348.
She also began pocketing council tax benefit in November 2008 for four years totalling more than £7,000.
Prosecutor Paul Tapsell told a jury at Canterbury Crown Court that one of the questions on Ashford Borough Council’s application asked if she, or her family, “owned any property or land or holiday homes in the UK or abroad.”
Boaden wrote: “No”.
The court heard taht BOaden bought the village after her aunt died in January 2007 leaving a £400,000 fortune.
Boaden was appointed executor, a fact she concealed from the council.
Mr Tapsell said Boaden was left with £385,000 which was used to buy a holiday villa at Calabay Parc, Tower Lake in Florida, with husband Mark.
The property was sold to Sunshine and Blue Skies Escape in March 2010, a company owned and run by the couple, which is still rented out at for £1,300 per week.
Boaden, of Ruckinge, Kent, also ran a partnership with her husband called Groundcare Solutions, which they sold for £100,000.
After benefits officers were alerted, she was questioned and told them she had been given £150,000 from the inheritance to her brother and, at the time of claiming benefits, planned to put the rest in a trust for her children.
She told the jury: “In my mind, the money didn’t belong to me. It belonged to my girls.”
But the jury didn’t believe her – and they also rejected her claim that £36,000 profit from the sale of her company wasn’t reported “because in my mind that money belonged to the business.”
Boaden was found guilty of two frauds and failing to tell the authority of her change in circumstances.
She was granted bail and will be sentenced next month after the preparation of probation reports.
Mr Tapsell said the Official Receiver quizzed her in June 2013 after Groundcare Solutions went bust and £36,000 was transferred to her new company, Innovation in Groundcare Limited.
On her LinkedIn page, she described her current position as Freelance Office Consultant at IIG, PA to Director at BBK Construction Services Ltd, PA to Director at Brian Richards Surveying.
Current regulations mean that people are allowed assets worth up £16,000 before it affects their claims for housing or council tax benefits