Mother jailed for disability benefit fraud
posted on Jul 19, 2009
A Midlothian mother who received £22,000 by pretending her entire family was severely disabled has been sent back to jail.
Anne Marie Cockburn's cheating began just two months after being released early from a 10 month sentence for a similar fraud involving £18,000. The 28-year-old pled guilty in June to fraudulently obtaining £22,373 between 12 December 2006, and 20 November 2007. At Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Cockburn, from Rosewell, was returned to prison. She also falsely claimed childcare costs, falsely claimed to be in employment and attempted to hijack another claimant's award. The mother-of-three must spend the 110 days of the unexpired portion of the previous sentence in jail and has had 20 months added.
Fiscal Depute, Melanie Ward, told the court the offences came to light after a friend of Cockburn was advised that details, relating to a nursery and work for a cleaning company, had been changed on one of her bank accounts.
The Criminal Investigations Unit of HM Revenue and Customs were alerted and they found that the claims being made were false.
Cockburn was interviewed and admitted what she had been doing. She also told the investigators she had telephoned the Tax Credit Helpline, pretending to be her partner, William McLeod, to get extra child care credits.
Defending solicitor advocate, David Allan, told Sheriff Derrick McIntyre that the principal reason for the commission of this offence mirrored the reason for the commission of the previous conviction and that was an underlying drug addiction, in particular methodone and dihydrocodeine.
After the hearing, Anne-Marie Gordon, HM Revenue and Customs assistant director of investigation in Scotland, said: "Cockburn cared only of lining her own pockets, and didn't give a second thought for the person whose identity she attempted to steal.