A benefit scammer who hid her partner’s £53,000 a year salary from welfare bosses so she could scam £27,000 in handouts used the cash to shop online and play the lottery, a court heard today.
Anita Brown is facing a jail term after her four-and-a-half year fraud was exposed.
Brown claimed she was living alone with her adult son – when in reality offshore worker Ian Baillie was living with her.
His oil industry wage, paid into their joint bank account, funded their household expenses in Dundee’s Britannia Drive.
Meanwhile, Brown maintained her own separate bank account where she had employment support allowance, housing benefit and council tax benefit paid in.
Dundee Sheriff Court was told that later analysis found that the fraudulent cash had been used to fund online shopping, tickets for the postcode lottery and a hotel trip.
Brown later told investigators that Mr Baillie was only a “very good friend” – but he claimed he “hoped to marry her one day”.
Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told the court: “When she made the claim she said she was divorced, had no savings and was living only with her non dependent adult son.
“She was told of her duty to advise of any change of circumstances and indeed did when her son started a college course.
“Intelligence was received and an inquiry commenced into her links with Ian Baillie.
“They established they had a joint account where his £53,000 salary was paid in.
“She had an account in her own name where her benefits were paid that was used to pay some household bills as well as to regularly purchase clothes online, to fund the accused entering the postcode lottery and on one occasion a hotel trip.
“It would appear the joint account, funded solely by Mr Baillie, was used for the remainder of the household expenses.
“Mr Baillie listed the accused as his partner, emergency contact and next of kin with his work.
“He stated in credit card applications that he was the owner of the property and had lived there for 19 years.
“He was interviewed and admitted paying household bills and buying food for her.
“He claimed he hoped to marry the accused in the future.”
Brown, 56, of Britannia Drive, Dundee, pleaded guilty on indictment to two offences under the Social Security Administration Act.
One was committed between January 2 2009 and June 30 2013, while the other was committed between June 14 2011 and June 30 2013.
Defence solicitor Larry Flynn said he would reserve his plea in mitigation until a later sentencing date.
Sheriff George Way deferred sentence until January for social work background reports and released Brown on bail meantime.