Mum on Benefits Said She Was Worth Pounds 250m; LAWYERS HOODWINKED BY FRAUD, COURT TOLD

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), July 15, 2010 | Go to article overview

Mum on Benefits Said She Was Worth Pounds 250m; LAWYERS HOODWINKED BY FRAUD, COURT TOLD


Byline: ELWYN ROBERTS

A FANTASIST hoodwinked lawyers into believing she was a multi-millionaire who was dying of cancer.

Amanda Thomas told a specialist law firm she had properties across world and was worth pounds 250m.

The 43-year-old mother of three grown-up children asked for legal documents to be drawn up to provide for her family when she died.

Mold Crown Court heard yesterday that the 43-year-old was actually getting benefits and was just attention-seeking.

Lawyers commissioned by the Thomas of Penrhyn Bay, Conwy, did pounds 43,000 worth of work on her behalf before her lies emerged.

Judge Niclas Parry expressed wonder that the lawyer, Drummond Kerr, of specialist tax and estate firm Meridian Law firm in the West Midlands, had not checked her claims sooner.

In a seven-hour meeting in North Wales last September, she told the lawyer she had accumulated considerable wealth and claimed that she had 70 properties in Europe, the Caribbean, the Far East, the Middle East and Africa.

Mr Kerr thought it was remarkable but entirely plausible and he had no reason to doubt her veracity.

She said she was terminally ill with cancer, had a limited life expectancy, and she wanted advice over her considerable assets world-wide.

A total of 43 complex legal documents were prepared for her, including several wills and various trust agreements.

It was only after a second seven-hour meeting at her home later that year that Mr Kerr made searches with the Land Registry and discovered that she was not the owner of 40 properties which she claimed she owned in the Isle of Wight.

At the second meeting, Thomas had handed over a cheque for pounds 50,000 which she said should be presented in five days when funds had been transferred from her offshore accounts. …

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