A woman who pocketed more than £27,000 in bogus benefit claims has avoided a prison sentence.
Samantha Tribe, of Fintry Crescent, pleaded guilty on indictment to being concerned in fraudulently claiming working tax and child tax credits between April 6 2013 and April 2 2015.
The 49-year-old admitted making a claim that she was a single parent but failed to disclose in a call to HMRC on May 24 2013 that she was living with her partner, thereby obtaining £27,732.61 that she wasn’t entitled to.
Tribe appeared for sentencing before Sheriff Alastair Carmichael at Dundee Sheriff Court.
Defence solicitor Lesley Beatts said the prospect of a custodial sentence had caused Tribe “a great deal of anxiety and distress”.
Miss Beatts said that Tribe, a first offender, had been making efforts to repay some of the money but had encountered difficulties.
She said: “This is a situation where it is quite clear that she accepts full responsibility for what happened.
“On balance and in relation to what the benefit of a custodial sentence would be, there has to be a balance against Miss Tribe’s personal circumstances.”
Passing sentence, Sheriff Carmichael said: “This was a fraud of the state which, in effect, is a fraud on every single taxpayer.
“Therefore, I have to consider making a custodial sentence as it is in that territory.
“In doing so, I need to think if there are any alternatives to a custodial sentence and there are social work reports offering alternatives in this particular case. This is a line that I can follow.”
Tribe was ordered to carry out 210 hours of unpaid work as well as being placed on a restriction of liberty order, keeping her indoors from 6pm-3.30am on Sunday and Monday and 7pm-7am between Thursday and Saturday.