Woman in £30k benefits fraud case avoids jail term

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A WOMAN who pocketed £30,000 after conning social security bosses has avoided prison after a sheriff heard how she has paid most of the cash back.

Susan Sime, 37, was sentenced to 240 hours community service after it emerged yesterday that the Royal Mail worker had given £25,000 back to the Department of Work and Pensions.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how Sime obtained the money in council tax and housing benefits in a fraud which lasted almost five years. Sime, of Stenhouse Avenue West, Edinburgh, repeatedly lied to social security chiefs about her marital status, pretending she was a single woman who was renting her home from another man.

In reality, she was a married woman who was using housing benefit illegally to pay the mortgage on the property she stayed in with her husband.

Sime pleaded guilty to committing fraud between July 2005 and March 31 2010 at a hearing last month. Sentence was deferred until Tuesday for the court to obtain reports.