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Benefit cheat locked up for 29,000 fraud

14/02/14

A benefit cheat who pocketed more than 29,000 she was not entitled to has been jailed and ordered to ordered to repay the money she fraudulently claimed.

Brenda Wilson was caught by Aberdeen City Council's fraud team following an anonymous tip-off that the 45-year-old, who claimed to be unemployed and incapable of work, was working in a city shop.

She was accused of fraudulently claiming more than 34,000 worth of benefits, including incapacity benefit, employment and support allowance, housing benefit and council tax benefit, between 2007 and 2012. She admitted a reduced charge of claiming 29,000 of benefits she was not entitled to.

Sheriff Graeme Buchanan jailed Ms Wilson for eight months when she appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court this morning.

The council's benefit fraud team sought details from her employer and, at around the same time as the company responded with details of her work and wages, Ms Wilson returned a review form to the council's Revenues and Benefits section declaring her only income to be her disability benefits. She also failed to disclose the bank account her wages were paid into.

An invitation to interview under caution was personally delivered to Ms Wilson when she was working as a Post Office counter assistant and wearing a uniform, at Spar on George Street, Aberdeen.

Aberdeen City Council head of finance Steven Whyte said: "Benefit cheats are costing the taxpayer millions of pounds each year. This money is intended to help those most in need, not line the pockets of criminals who are perfectly capable of working and earning an income.

"It is important to declare all income to allow benefit staff to calculate the correct amount of benefit that is due. We hope the sentence acts as a deterrent to anyone thinking of taking advantage of the benefits system."

If you would like to report a benefit cheat, please call the Council's hotline on 08456 080922 or log on to www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/benefitfraud