‘I felt I had no choice’ - East Lothian woman appealing year-long fraud sentence was ‘trapped in abusive relationship' and needed money for her children

An East Lothian woman who is appealing her year-long fraud sentence for swindling £55,000 in Child Tax Credit payments claims she “had no choice” as she was trapped in an abusive relationship with an ex partner and needed the money to live.

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Saturday, 3rd April 2021, 12:15 pm

Rosanna Anderson pleaded guilty to being knowingly concerned in fraudulent activity by claiming the excess payments by failing to declare she was living with her then partner between May 15, 2012 and January 19, 2018.

Speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News on Thursday, Ms Anderson said she started claiming as a single mother at a time when her ex partner was not living with her. But she knowingly kept it going when he returned, claiming he did not help out financially and spent his money on alcohol instead of her and the children.

The 31-year-old mother of six, from Tranent, said the excess payments she claimed covered 80 percent of the childcare costs she needed to pay while she worked part time.

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Rosanna Anderson.

She said: “I knew what I did was wrong but it was because I felt I had to do it for the kids and I was in a relationship I could not get out of. I felt I had no choice.

“I felt trapped at the time. I kept it like that (claiming singly) because he did not help.

“I am willing to pay it back. When I did it I was never any better off. I had money to live and to get by and had a part time job as well.”

Ms Anderson, who has six children, stepmum to one, pleaded guilty to the fraud when she appeared in front of sheriff Wendy Sheehan at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in January. In early March, she reappeared for sentencing and was jailed for 12 months.

The Scottish Court Service confirmed previously that Anderson was released from custody by the High Court on March 16 and that the Appeal Court will decide on her future on April 13.

A letter forming part of the appeal from East and Midlothian Women’s Aid, seen by this newspaper, confirms that Ms Anderson has been supported by Women’s Aid from October 2019. This is when she left her ex partner, who she says is facing domestic abuse charges.

The letter states Ms Anderson disclosed alleged domestic abuse by her former partner for a period of 12 years and that it took the form of emotional and controlling behaviour.

Ms Anderson said she suffered verbal abuse and threatening messages and claimed her former partner would not allow her to work and would not take care of the children during their relationship.

The letter states: “Ms Anderson and the children survived solely on what money she had coming into the house.

“This situation was instrumental in her applying for benefit in her own right as a single parent. She feels she had no other way of providing for herself and more importantly for her children.”

Ms Anderson also said a local fundraising appeal which raised more than £2,800 to buy a specially designed helmet for her young son, who was diagnosed with torticollis, a tightening of the neck, and flat head syndrome in December, was launched earlier this year – well after the period during which she admitted fraudulent activity.

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