24 May 2014

"Desperately sorry" benefit thief granny jailed

A grandmother who concealed a £650 a month pension from the authorities has been jailed for six months at Lincoln Crown Court after admitting benefit fraud.

Susan Patchett received the works pension following the death of her husband back in 1985 but when she began a new relationship she did not tell her partner about the income.

Ben Close, prosecuting, said that Patchett’s partner subsequently claimed benefits for both of them declaring that neither he nor Patchett had any other income. When the partner was questioned he had no idea that Patchett was receiving the pension which related to her late husband’s employment at British Sugar. By the time the matter came to light the fraud had been going on for nearly 10 years and involved an overpayment of £56,275. At the start of the fraud the pension was £480 a month but by 2012 it had risen to £650 a month.

Patchett later told the authorities that she did not know that the income needed to be reported as tax was being deducted and she assumed that HMRC would have informed the Department for Work and Pensions.

Of course the excuse is rubbish, but of course the data bases should be matched.

Sunil Khanna, defending, said Patchett has a large family including nine grandchildren and also acts as guardian for a disabled nephew. He urged the judge to impose a suspend jail sentence and added “She has no experience of custody. She is terrified of the prospect. She is desperately, desperately sorry for what she has done.”

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