A WOMAN continued cashing her mother-in-law’s pension for more than a year after she had died.
Leonora Casey passed away on September 30, 2009, which meant her Tyne and Wear public sector pension should have been stopped.
But Newcastle Crown Court heard nobody informed the council which issued the payments about the death and Mrs Casey’s daughter-in-law Melanie Fenton, 40, helped herself as the payments continued.
Fenton, of D’Arcy Court, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to fraud relating to £6,500 she took out of Mrs Casey’s bank account during 46 transactions after her death.
The court heard the police became involved when South Tyneside Council carried out an audit and investigations revealed neither the pension fund, which the council administered, nor Lloyds TSB bank, which handled the payments, had known about Mrs Casey’s death.
Judge Christopher Prince said: “After her mother-in-law’s death payments continued to by paid into the mother-in-law’s account.
“The defendant had her bank card because she had been helping her and she withdrew £6,500 in total.”
Judge Prince sentenced Fenton to a community order for 12 months with 100 hours’ unpaid work.
The judge told Fenton: “You are described in the pre-sentence report as someone who is totally bewildered by the situation you find yourself in.
“It is not bewildering, you took money you were not entitled to.”
Paul Cross defending, said Fenton has never been in trouble before and holds down a job.
Mr Cross said: “She is a totally respectable woman.
“She had great difficulty managing her late mother-in-law’s affairs.”
The court heard Fenton is not in a position to repay the money she took.