A buy to let investor has been sentenced to two years in prison after claiming income support despite being a professional portfolio landlord.
Maria Protheroe claimed she had no income but had also lied to obtain mortgages to expand her portfolio: to cap it all, she then falsely claimed to live in two of her properties to avoid Capital Gains Tax when she sold them.
In 2010 she also claimed carer’s allowance in respect of her sister, giving an address in Winchester and claiming to have no employment and no land or property which was rented out.
A court has now heard that Protheroe’s dishonesty has earned her almost £180,000 over the years; in addition to prison, she has been ordered by Warwick Crown Court to pay £178,368 under the Proceeds of Crime Act within the next three months.
If she does not pay she faces the two years in jail and will have to repay the funds thereafter.
In addition Protheroe, from Coventry, has pleaded guilty to failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions of her change in circumstances, cheating the Public Revenue, and two charges of fraud.
She also has to pay £25,000 in costs.
The court heard that Protheroe had begun his misdeeds by claiming invalidity benefit and then incapacity benefit, and later employment and support allowance, on the basis that she was too ill to work and had no other income.
In reality she had a portfolio of 10 properties in Coventry, Plymouth, Manchester, Bradford and Scotland which had given her a reported income of some £500,000 between 2003 and 2016.
The court heard that when she was interviewed by the police on various occasions she answered ‘no comment’ to all questions.
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