A retired lecturer conned out of £240,000 in a multi-million-pound scam has walked free from court after admitting fraud.
Thomas Hepple, 67, allowed his wife Maureen to claim £16,000 in pension credit by failing to tell her or the authorities that he was receiving a pension, Sunderland Magistrates’ Court previously heard.
This isn’t a case where it has been fraudulent from the outset. They have been hit by this thing and they have lost every single penny of what they hadLesley Burgess
Hepple, of Lea Rigg, West Rainton, has now been given a conditional discharge for two years and was told to pay £85 costs and a £15 surcharge to fund victim services.
He previously admitted dishonestly causing someone to fail to notify a change in circumstances, between October 2006, and August, 2014.
The court heard the couple lost everything after being conned by David Reid of the Washington Mortgage Centre.
Reid, was jailed for six years in 2014 for investing £3million of clients’ money in bogus off-shore accounts.
Prosecutor Paul Anderson said Mrs Hepple had made a claim, on the basis that she believed they had no further income.
Lesley Burgess, defending, said Hepple worked as a university lecturer in engineering, until he had a heart attack in 2001.
“It was then that he became the victim of David Reid’s mortgage shop in The Galleries,” Ms Burgess said. “Along with 33 other people, they lost everything. It was a six-figure sum in respect of the Hepples – £240,000.
“This isn’t a case where it has been fraudulent from the outset. They have been hit by this thing and they have lost every single penny of what they had.
“He put everything in the hands of David Reid.”