Benefits cheat 'had £200,000 Mafia money in Swiss bank account'
A benefits cheat claimed she conned the taxpayer out of £20,000 rather than spend £200,000 of her dead ex-partner's money because it belonged to the Mafia.
Caroline Foxley, from Shuthonger, Tewkesbury, told Bristol Crown Court she would be killed if she tried to access the Swiss bank account.
The 59-year-old mother of two made the claim at a pre-sentence hearing, following her conviction last month.
She will be sentenced at a date yet to be fixed.
Foxley's defence counsel David Leathley described her as "infuriating" and leading a "chaotic" lifestyle.
He added she was not "brazenly cheeky" in trying to outfox the authorities by delaying proceedings, but speculated that she had a personality disorder.
"Caroline Foxley is an enigma but more of an enigma is Dr Kurt Mayer, the late doctor [and her partner] who got himself arrested in Italy," he said.
"She believes Dr Kurt Mayer was, inter alia, in trouble with the Mafia and/or the Mob and they have control of the money and she was too frightened to present that scenario at her trial.
"She tells me that if she tries to recover the money she is dead.
"She is adamant that she cannot touch the money because it is not hers. She is not living on champagne and caviar, she is a cleaner."
Foxley was convicted following a trial at Gloucester Crown Court of four charges of dishonestly failing to report a change in her circumstances affecting her entitlement to benefits and dishonestly making false representations to obtain benefits between March 2007 and March 2009.
She fraudulently claimed income support and job seekers' allowance from the Department for Work and Pensions in addition to council tax and housing benefit from Cotswold District Council.
Foxley received £306,000 from the sale of her home in 2007 and used some of the money to send her two children to private schools.
She had claimed that she did not regard the proceeds as her own and felt it was in trust for her ex-partner and her two children.
She was released on conditional bail until sentencing.