Leeds woman jailed over £73,000 widow’s pension deception

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A woman falsely claimed more than £73,000 of a widow’s pension despite starting a relationship with another man following the death of her husband.

Linda Cameron was jailed for 15 months over the deception which lasted more than 11 years.

Leeds Crown Court heard Cameron, 57, was legitimately paid a widow’s pension from November 1998 following the death of her husband.

Cameron was paid the money on the basis that she would notify authorities if she began living with a new partner.

She was arrested in 2014 following a tip-off to the Department of Work and Pensions. They discovered evidence including joint bank statements and letters jointly addressed to Cameron and her partner.

Cameron was interviewed and admitted that her widow’s pension was illegally claimed from May 2002 when they began living together.

She was paid a total of £73,550 during the period of offending. Cameron, of Breary Road, Bramhope, Leeds, pleaded guilty to an offence of retaining wrongful credit. The court heard Cameron was currently repaying the sum at a rate of £100 per month but the figure would be reduced to £30 per month when she became a pensioner.

Judge Geoffrey, QC, said if Cameron continued to repay at that rate the sum would be cleared by the time she reached the age of 117.

Genan Hashim, mitigating, said the offence had not been committed to fund a lavish lifestyle. She said Cameron had only been on once holiday in 15 years.

Jailing Cameron, judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, said: “The public would be appalled if people can fleece the public purse for such huge amounts of money and not go to prison as a result.”