£26,000 pension thief evades jail

A MAN stole pension funds worth £26,000 intended for his disabled brother – but avoided jail.

Leeds Crown Court heard that Kevin Austin, 53, of Pildacre Brow, Ossett, carried out the deception for about 13 years.

His brother, who has learning difficulties, was unable to manage his own financial affairs or fully care for himself. He had been looked after by his father, who died in 1999, after which Austin became responsible for managing his father’s estate, including a miner’s pension.

The pension payments should have been passed to his brother but Austin paid them into his own bank account.

Austin’s brother moved into a residential care home in Leeds in 1999 but they were not told he was entitled to the pension.

The offences came to light in 2012 when the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme contacted the home. Austin, who admitted theft, was interviewed and admitted he had kept the cash for himself.

The court heard Austin’s brother is now in receipt of the pension and the care home has legal power of attorney.

Austin was given a one-year jail term suspended for 18 months and told to carry out 210 hours of unpaid work.

Recorder of Leeds, judge Peter Collier QC told Austin: “It was a mean thing to do.”

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