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12 Jul 2018

Benefit fraudster had drug issues

A Clydebank woman who claimed benefit money she was not entitled to has narrowly avoided a jail sentence.

Kirsten Falconer, 32, pleaded guilty at Dumbarton Sheriff Court to pretending to officers of the Department of Work and Pensions that she was Catherine Young, and gave a false national insurance number.

Prosecutor Martina McGuigan also told the court that Falconer told the DWP she was single, unemployed and pregnant.

She claimed income based Jobseekers allowance to which she wasn’t entitled and induced the DWP to grant her application and she obtained £1,294 of cash by fraud.

Ms McGuigan explained: “In August 2017 Miss Young was contacted by DWP about her Jobseekers Allowance and this is when it came to light. Investigations took place at the Job Centre in Clydebank and CCTV was viewed, payments were traced to Falconer and she was invited for interview. She told officers she had found a wallet on a night out and all it contained was a P45.”

Lawyer Scott Adair said: “She is repaying the money at £7 per week, which is being deducted from her properly claimed benefits. The wallet she found had no money or cards, just P45. It was a plan that was bound to fail. She has had a lot of drugs issues. This happened at a particularly low time in her life. She realises it was not an insignificant amount of money.”

Sheriff William Gallacher told Falconer: “This was a brazen and pretty mean thing to do. It was planned, calculated and a determined course of conduct and an abuse of the system. I am very seriously tempted to send you into custody.”

Falconer was given a 12 months community payback order to include supervision and also ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.

Source

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