M’Lady Jailed Over Benefits Scam

Putney's Lady Bowden allowed "lover" to claim benefit as her lodger at Fulham flat

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Lady Oriol Bowden, 70 – whose husband Sir Frank was from the family that started the Raleigh cycle firm – and Graham Young, 67, defrauded Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council out of £62,053 in housing benefit and council tax benefit, Isleworth Crown Court heard.

Lady Bowden was sent to jail for 12 weeks after being found guilty of money laundering and retaining unlawful credit.

Divorcee Young was jailed for 12 months after he claimed to be Lady Bowden’s lodger, at her Putney home, so he could draw ten of thousands of pounds in benefits. Young was claiming to be a single man living at one address when in fact he was spending most of his time living with Lady Bowden as man and wife.

Claiming to be Young’s landlady at Carrara Wharf in Fulham, Bowden received £50,000 in housing benefits between 2004-2008 while Young continued to receive thousands in council tax benefits and pension credits. Between 2003 and 2009, Young defrauded the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) out of £31,000.

Cllr Greg Smith, H&F Council Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services, says:
“Our anti-fraud and legal teams worked tirelessly to nail these two cheats. After years of trying to shaft taxpayers’ our thorough investigation means they can now enjoy each others’ company behind bars.”

If Young had told the council about their relationship, Lady Bowden would have been means tested and Young would have had his benefit handouts slashed, Isleworth Crown Court was told.

The couple denied being in a relationship and insisted they were just close friends and never had a sexual relationship. However Lady Bowden's police statement referred to Young as her boyfriend. Gavin Irvin, prosecuting, also said the couple often shared a bed and stayed in the same hotel room, but they claimed it was 'no big deal' and they did it to 'save space'.

Mr Irwin told the court: “This is case about dishonestly obtaining benefits – in plain language – benefit fraud.”

November 4, 2010