Jail for Leuchars benefits cheat

Cupar Sheriff Court.
Cupar Sheriff Court.

A LEUCHARS woman who claimed more than £11,000 worth of widows’ benefit despite living with another man is behind bars.

June Bernard (49), of 35 Pitcairn Park, was jailed for 135 days by Sheriff Charles Macnair in Cupar.

She’d previously admitted obtaining widows’ benefit amounting to £11,182.71 to which she was not entitled between July 1 2008 and June 21 2010.

The court heard that the offence came to light when Bernard, who had been widowed some years earlier, told the Department of Work and Pensions that she had re-married.

An investigation was carried out and it was discovered that she’d been living with her now-husband some time before they married, which affected her entitlement.

Bernard’s solicitor David Bell said that his client was a first offender who was in full-time work. She regretted her actions and the money would be repaid very quickly.

However his plea to the sheriff to impose a non-custodial sentence was rejected.

The sheriff told him he had to take into account High Court guidelines that recommended a jail sentence for amounts over £10,000.

The court also heard that, unusually in a case of benefit fraud, an application was being made under the Proceeds of Crime Act.