Granny committed benefit fraud for bigger house

Caroline Moore, who admitted claiming benefits while she had thousands in the bank. Pic: 'Vic Rodrick

Caroline Moore, who admitted claiming benefits while she had thousands in the bank. Pic: 'Vic Rodrick

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A grandmother has admitted claiming benefits so she could move to a bigger house with her family.

Caroline Moore lied to DWP officials that she had savings of just £30 so she qualified for Income Support, Livingston Sheriff Court heard.

But the truth was that the brazen benefits cheat had “substantial savings” which started off at £65000 and never dropped below £30000.

Moore, 42, of Clement Rise, Livingston, West Lothian, today pled guilty to obtaining benefits of £2467.19 to which she wasn’t entitled between September 2008 and June 2009.

The Crown accepted her not guilty pleas to three counts of making false statements to West Lothian Council to obtain a total of nearly £19000 in housing benefit and council tax benefit.

Graham Fraser, prosecuting, said Moore – a first offender – had banked most of the money after she and her ex husband sold their home and split the proceeds.

He said: “She simply didn’t disclose that and obtained benefit as a result.

“In the course of interview she said that it wasn’t fraudulent and gave three reasons for not declaring the money: she wasn’t going to take benefits for long, she was holding it as a financial safety net and, if her husband discovered she had it, he’d lay claim to it.”

Sandra Osborne, defending, said all the money – which Moore accepted she was not entitled to – had been repaid.

“The payments were used to fund her housing, which required to be a certain size so she could have her daughter and grandchildren living with her.”

She said Moore was now at risk of losing her job as a support worker because she had to tell her employers about her conviction.

Sentencing Moore to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work under a community payback order, Sheriff Susan Craig said her circumstances were “unusual”.

She told the accused: “You certainly knew you had substantial sums of money but, rather than use your money, you decided to use the State’s money.

“You may have paid back the money but it’s appropriate that you be properly punished for doing that.”