A mother-of-four has been jailed after falsely claiming more than £35,000 in benefits in a six-year scam.
Mabel Little pocketed the huge sum after telling benefits bosses that she was living alone as a single mother after partner Roy Shields walked out on her. But investigators later found out the pair were living together.
Little, 52, of Leven, Fife, pleaded guilty on indictment to falsely claiming income support benefit between 2004 and 2010 and was jailed for six months.
Fiscal depute Susannah Hutchison told Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court: "On August 15, 2001 the accused claimed income support claiming she was a single parent having separated from Roy Shields. Reviews were done over the years and payments continued. On August 20, 2009 information was received saying she was living with a partner.
"Checks were carried out which revealed Roy Shields was living at her address. Documents were found claiming he was her next of kin as a sister. He was, in fact, the father of her children. Surveillance was carried out and he was seen leaving the accused's address."
Little's defence solicitor told the court: "She had been in a relationship with Mr Shields for a number of years and he is the father of her children. Due to what she puts down as his drinking and womanising the relationship ended in 2001 while she was pregnant. They did reconcile but it only came to that over a number of years. He wasn't contributing to her.”
Sheriff Grant McCulloch said: "It is a sad situation that it comes to this. For a six-year period you effectively stole from the public purse and the question is can custody be avoided. It's a long period and a substantial amount of money and these types of cases are far too prevalent. That and the fact that you were recorded as living with him as brother and sister mean custody cannot be avoided in this instance."
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