‘They gave me hope’ - East Lothian mum loses appeal against year-long fraud sentence for swindling £55k in excess Child Tax Credit payments
A distraught East Lothian mum who was jailed last month for swindling £55,000 in Child Tax Credit payments has been returned to prison after the appeal against her sentence failed.
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. She was jailed by sheriff Wendy Sheehan in March.
Anderson, from Tranent, was then released from prison on March 16 - just two weeks into her sentence - after her legal team lodged an appeal against the 12-month prison term.
She told the Edinburgh Evening News previously she felt she “had no choice” to do what she did, as she became trapped in an abusive relationship with an ex partner and needed the money for her family to live.
The 31-year-old said she started claiming as a single mother at a time when her ex was not living with her - but she knowingly kept the payments going when he returned, claiming he did not help out financially and spent his money on alcohol instead of the children. Ms Anderson also said the excess payments she claimed covered 80 percent of the childcare costs she needed to pay while she worked part time.
A letter forming part of the appeal from East and Midlothian Women’s Aid, seen by this newspaper, confirmed Ms Anderson had 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.
But Anderson, who has six children and is stepmum to one, was returned to HMP Cornton Vale on Tuesday after two Appeal Court judges decided the original sentence imposed on her was justified. The Appeal Court decision was confirmed by the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service on Wednesday.
Speaking on Wednesday from her home, an upset Ms Anderson said: “When they let me out it gave me hope, and to put me back, especially when I have got six kids, seems crazy. It’s just a case of waiting for a warrant.”
Ms Anderson said she hopes to serve half of her sentence and is also hopeful that some of this will be outside of prison but wearing a tag. She said she had no previous convictions.
One local, who did not want to be named, said the decision to return Anderson to serve out the remainder of her prison term is “unfortunate but justified”.
The woman said: “Everyone in Tranent was shocked to hear about Rosanna being jailed, then even more shocked that she was allowed out in just two weeks.
“What she did was unforgivable and after having so much respect in the community she now has very little.
“I really feel for her on a human level as no new mother should be in jail.
“But at the end of the day she needs to pay for what she did and the appeal decision is unfortunate but justified in my opinion.”