Job centre worker blew stolen £4500 benefit cash on betting

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A JOB centre worker fiddled the benefits system to fund his addiction to gambling, a court heard.

Robert Fisher, of Whitburn, West Lothian, used his privileged access to the Department of Work and Pensions’ computers to activate dormant claims.

He pretended dozens of claimants had moved into his home and altered their income so it looked as though they were due a payment.

He had the cash paid into his own bank accounts, then changed the computer details back again to avoid detection.

The 53-year-old civil servant repeated the scam over and over again until he had siphoned off £4500, Livingston Sheriff Court heard yesterday.

But as quickly as the cash went into his bank account, it was transferred out again to William Hill the bookmakers.

He blew most of the money on bad bets, but he also spent some of it on feeding a drugs habit, the court was told.

Katie McNair, prosecuting, said Fisher worked as an internal auditor at Bathgate job centre when he took the cash.

He got the job even though he had been jailed for three years in 2002 for 13 counts of obtaining money by deception in England.

His scam was exposed after a genuine jobseeker received a letter from the DWP saying he had been sent a payment of £309.38.

Sheriff Douglas Kinloch sentenced Fisher to 225 hours of unpaid work in the community and ordered him to pay £4500 compensation to the DWP.