Wednesday, 25 November 2015

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Fraud woman's estranged husband must sell house to pay her debt

A woman who pocketed £27,000 by going on claiming her father’s pension for five years after he died has been ordered to hand over every penny she has to pay it back - even though it will mean her estranged husband losing his home to do so.

In April last year, Angela Hewitt, 48, High Road, Kells, Whitehaven, was given an eight-month suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty at Carlisle Crown Court to fraud and forgery.

The court heard she was paid the money because, though she put a stop to her father, former coalminer Gordon Parkinson’s state pension payments by telling the Department for Work of Pensions when he died, she never got around to telling the Coal Board.

It was nearly five years before investigators working for the trustees of the miners’ pension company’s discovered what she was doing and reported her to the police.

Hewitt was back in court today for a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The court heard she had benefited to the tune of £27,381.39 from her crime.

She had assets of £25,711 which she could pay back but only if her estranged husband sold his house, to which she was known to have contributed more than £26,000 towards the mortgage.

The judge, Recorder Kevin Grice, ordered her to do so.

He said he realised the ruling could appear harsh on Hewitt's husband but the legislation allowed him no discretion.

He said it should be remembered that Hewitt brought it on herself by committing the fraud in the first place.

Prosecutor Gerard Rogerson said the driving force for the Crown's action was the desire to obtain compensation for the pension fund which had lost the money.


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