Benefit fraud: Llandudno bank manager Julie Harvey gets suspended jail sentence
A bank manager who fraudulently claimed £35,100 in benefits has been given a suspended jail sentence.
At Mold Crown Court Julie Harvey, 53, admitted defrauding Gwynedd council.
Her former partner, Peter Harvey, 66, also defrauded the council and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) out of a total of £74,000. He was jailed for 10 months.
Harvey's barrister said she had lost her job with Santander and had been "humiliated" and taught a lesson.
She had worked at the Abbey National in Caernarfon, and when Santander took over she was branch manager in Llandudno until losing her job last week.
In addition to a 40-week sentence, suspended for 12 months, she must also carry out 300 hours unpaid work.
End Quote Judge Niclas Parry
This was a conspiracy that went on for the better part of a quarter of a century”
The court heard that for many years she had claimed she was the owner of a house in Blaenau Ffestiniog, which was rented out to Peter Harvey.
He claimed he was a single parent living alone and paying rent on the property.
There was a wealth of evidence that they were a couple with two daughters, including entries on social networking sites.
He said he was semi-retired, living with his partner Julie and had two lovely children.
She said she was a bank manager, married to Peter, with two daughters, and they lived together in the north Wales mountains for 11 years.Industrious
Judge Niclas Parry said it was a deliberate fraud which was fraudulent from the onset.
"This was a conspiracy that went on for the better part of a quarter of a century," he said.
The husband had claimed all sorts of benefits, rent, and free school meals and uniform.
The judge accepted there had not been a "lavish lifestyle".
Both were industrious people of previously good character and she had since paid back £10,000, the court heard.
Elen Owen, prosecuting, said Julie Harvey bought the house in Blaenau Ffestiniog in 1992.'Very solitary'
Claim for benefits were made from the then Meirionnydd council and later Gwynedd council on the basis there was no relationship, that she was the landlord and he was the tenant.
Mr Harvey had falsely claimed £38,916 benefits from the DWP.
John Philpotts, defending, said: "She has been humiliated, she has been taught a lesson by her behaviour".
Maria Massellis, for Peter Harvey, said her client served in the Army and saw active service in the 1960s and had always worked - as a milkman and a delivery driver - before having to give up work because of chronic back pain.
She said the couple no longer lived together and he had "a very solitary and sad existence".
After the case Gwynedd council said it was committed to ensuring the benefits it administered went to the right people, and will continue to investigate claims of misuse.
A council spokesperson said the convictions showed anyone in Gwynedd claiming benefits fraudulently could expect to be caught.