Britain’s biggest ever benefits fraudster who faked dementia and hid her father’s death to pocket £750,000 has been jailed.
Ethel McGill, 68, covered up her father’s death for 12 years from 2004 in order to receive his pension and benefits.
She was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison today.
McGill deceived authorities by asking a friend to pose as her dead father and telling social workers trying to check on him not to speak to her father as he could be aggressive.
In 2005 she made a request to Liverpool Housing Trust for a bigger property in Runcorn, Cheshire saying her family needed to live together to provide around-the-clock care for Robert Dennison, who was already dead.
She also pretended to have dementia and mobility problems for more than 20 years in order to falsely claim disability allowance and other benefits.
McGill registered at two doctors surgeries close to her home and would visit one repeatedly to make complaints of undiagnosed conditions to support her fraudulent claims.
Her son, Chris McGill 28, and her other son’s previous partner, Hannah Bazley 25, were found guilty of supporting McGill by claiming a carer’s allowance for conditions she did not have.
Stephane Pendered, of the CPS, said: “This is the largest case of benefit fraud by a single person that I have prosecuted. Not content with receiving her father’s pensions, housing and tax benefits under false pretences, Ethel McGill made good use of her amateur dramatic skills by feigning dementia to succeed in her own fraudulent benefit claims.
“Over the course of 25 years, McGill shamelessly received £750,000 of public money she knew full well she was not entitled to.
“The CPS will now endeavour to ensure taxpayers get some of their money back by pursuing McGill under the Proceeds of Crime Act.”
He continued: “The lengths Ethel McGill and her family went through to cheat a system designed for people in need is truly staggering.
“However, we were able to dismantle their deception one lie at a time. We hope this prosecution will help the public to have confidence that those who cheat the public purse will face the full force of the law.”