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21 Aug 2017

Aberdeen woman in £15k benefit fraud

An Aberdeen woman has been spared jail after falsely claiming £14,000 in benefits.

Thelma Watson, 51, was handed 175 hours of unpaid work by Sheriff Christine McCrossan when she appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court for sentencing, having previously admitted two charges of benefit fraud.

Social security chiefs said the case showed how the department was “rooting out” benefit cheats.

Watson previously appeared in court last month and admitted claiming the cash over a period of more than two years.

She pled guilty to failing to notify DWP officials that, having previously declared she was single, she lived with her partner.

Watson claimed £2,111.32 in Jobseekers Allowance between February 5 and September 5, 2012. She also claimed £11,888.68, in Employment Support Allowance between September 6, 2012, and January 9, 2015.

Defence for Watson, Neil McRobert told the court his client had no previous convictions for dishonesty.

He said: “The background is there was a legitimate claim back in 2009, benefits were received thereafter which she was fully entitled to at that stage. She had moved in with the male referred to; that relationship became more serious. Clearly at that stage that is a change in circumstances and she should have told the DWP.”

He added: “She accepts she should have informed the DWP of a change of circumstances. She is deeply remorseful. She appreciated the power the court would have and she is aware of the disposals.”

Mr McRobert said she was “distressed” at the prospect of a custodial sentence.

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