Benefits fraudster locked up
Woman claimed cash
A WOMAN has been jailed after claiming more than £30,000 in benefits she was not entitled to while working in an Aberdeen pub.
Williamina Sim claimed the cash over six years while she was employed at the Pittodrie Bar.
The 55-year-old failed to tell officials at the Department of Work and Pensions her circumstances had changed when she secured the job in June 2004.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard she was still employed at the pub where she has worked as a barmaid and cleaner for more than seven years.
Fiscal depute Lynne Mannion said the benefits department were notified of her employment by HM Revenue and Customs officials last year.
Sim previously admitted wrongly claiming £25,114.20 of income support while working.
She pleaded guilty to a further charge of wrongly claiming £3,766.42 of housing benefit and £1,161.54 of council tax benefits.
Defence lawyer Charles Benzies said: “My client has been making repayments. She was in debt. She got herself a job at Pittodrie Bar where she is still employed.
“She wasn’t earning a lot of money. She started earning about £70 a week. She realises now that she should have immediately declared that to the authorities.”
The lawyer added that it was “something of a relief” to his client that she was caught when the crime eventually came to light in 2010.
Sheriff Graeme Buchanan described it as a “serious offence”.
He said Sim had dishonestly obtained a very large sum of public money.
Sheriff Buchanan sentenced Sim, whose address was listed as 358E King Street, Aberdeen, to 10 months in prison.
He added he had to send out a message to others that people committing such crimes would receive a “significant” sentence.
IN COURT: Williamina Sim was jailed for 10 months.