Ben­e­fits fraud­ster locked up

Woman claimed cash

Evening Express (Extra Edition) - - NEWS -

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.

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