Benefit cheat claimed £7000 by fraud

Dunfermline Sheriff Court.
Dunfermline Sheriff Court.

A Fife woman obtained £7000 in a benefits fraud by falsely claiming her child was living with her.

Holly Fitzwater was not entitled to the money because the child was taken into local authority care.

Fitzwater (27) of Tiree Place, Kirkcaldy, appeared for sentencing at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.

She had previously admitted that between July 14, 2014 and April 19, 2015 at Muirtonhill Road, Cardenden, she was knowingly concerned in fraudulent activity with a view to obtaining Child Tax Credit by falsely stating her child was living with her and obtained £7000 to which she was not entitled.

Depute fiscal Azrah Yousaf said that no money had been paid by to the Department of Work and Pensions so far.

Defence solicitor Danielle Valera said: “The claim began as a legitimate one. When the situation changed she knew she should have disclosed this and she accepts responsibility for this.”

The court heard Fitzwater is a drug addict who recently relapsed and was unfit for unpaid work.

Unemployed Fitzwater is on a community payment order imposed at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court for a previous offence.

She appeared from custody in Dunfermline after failing to turn up for a previous court date.

Ms Valera confirmed that no repayment plan is in place.

Sheriff Allison McKay said: “You’ve obtained a significant amount of money which you knew you were not entitled to and in light of your current financial circumstances it’s unlikely you will be able to pay back £7000.”

The sheriff imposed a six-month restriction of liberty order.