Wendy Harvey, 43 of Wentworth Road, Bridlington was sentenced at Beverley Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, June 26 after admitting to keeping a wrongful credit from East Riding Pension Fund knowing that it should have been cancelled and to making a false representation to East Riding Pension Fund by completing a certificate of entitlement to pension form in her dead mother’s name in order to wrongly receive payments she was not entitled to.
The court heard that in April 2018 a completed certificate of entitlement to pension was received by East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s pension section which appeared to have been completed and signed by Susan Harvey.
The form also included details of Mrs Harvey’s daughter, Wendy, naming her as a secondary contact.
The resulting investigations revealed that Susan Harvey had died in February 2017 and therefore could not have completed and signed the form.
Wendy Harvey was interviewed under caution by officers from the council’s fraud investigation team in February 2019 where she claimed to have “stuck her head in the sand” despite knowing pension payments were continuing.
She told officers that before her mother died, the pension had been paid into a joint account, which following her death she became the sole account holder and that she used the money on day to day living expenses as her only other income was employment support allowance and she was struggling financially.
Harvey acknowledged she was not entitled to the pension and by failing to notify the pensions section that she was still in receipt of payment she was committing fraud.
She also admitted to dishonestly completing the certificate of entitlement form so the payments would continue.
As a result of the dishonesty, Harvey received £7,745.59 in payments she was not entitled to.
Harvey was given a 16 week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, has to pay compensation of £7,745.59, victim surcharge of £115 and costs of £384.
Andy Hardy, fraud investigation manager at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “The council has a zero tolerance approach to fraud of all types and will take action against anyone found cheating the system.
“If anyone suspects that someone may be committing fraud against the council I would encourage them to contact us and tell us of their suspicions.”
Anyone who suspects fraud in the East Riding area can phone the confidential 24-hour benefit fraud hotline on (01482) 394949, text 07786 200850 or email [email protected]