A MAN who dishonestly claimed his elderly mother’s pension for almost a year after her death has admitted fraud.

Police described Phillip Quinn as a “Walter Mitty character” who showed no remorse and had tried to blame everybody but himself.

Quinn, of Wells Close, Darlington, pleaded guilty to a single charge of fraud on the eve of his trial at Teesside Crown Court, having already admitted failing to disclose his mother’s death and receiving 11 months of her widow’s pension payments.

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The 60-year-old had responded to a query from pension administrator AON Hewitt in summer 2010 and forged his mother’s signature to confirm she was fit and well.

In fact 91-year-old Hilda Quinn, whose late husband had worked at GlaxoSmithKline, had died in March that year.

Quinn, who had power of attorney over his mother’s finances after she went into a care home, arranged for about £5,500 of her pension payments to be paid into his account.

When the fraud, carried out between March 2010 and February 2011, was detected by police, Quinn tried and failed to pin the blame on a former friend.

Detective Constable Neil Stannard, of Durham Police, said Quinn was forced to plead guilty in the face of overwhelming evidence.

He said: “He has tried to pull the wool over everybody’s eyes. He has shown no remorse whatsoever and is content to blame everybody else.

“He is the ultimate Walter Mitty character, he lies so frequently he starts to believe his own lies.

“This was not a massive amount of money, but it is distressing and he was ultimately ripping off his dead mother.”

DC Stannard said the GlaxoSmithKline pension had passed to Quinn’s mother after her husband’s death.

Quinn was duty bound to inform the pension provider of her death, but failed to do so, he added.

Paul Newcombe, mitigating, asked for a pre-sentence report on Quinn and said he was facing other fraud matters.

The barrister told the court that sentencing guidelines meant Quinn could face anything from a community order to a short jail term for the fraud offence.

He was granted conditional bail in the meantime and his case was adjourned.