20th August 2018
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Woman fraudulently claimed thousands

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A woman who fraudulently obtained almost £9,000 from the Department of Work and Pensions was spared a prison sentence when she appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court.

Instead Katrina Johnson, 27, of the town’s Robertson Crescent was ordered to carry out 195 hours of unpaid work.

She admitted claiming income support, housing and council tax benefit to which she was not entitled.

The court was told she failed to tell the authorities that her estranged husband was contributing to the household when he was staying over at weekends between May 2011 and July 2012.

During his stays he normally slept on the couch, the court was told, but the two occasionally had “marital relations” and he sometimes brought food and other items for the family. The couple are now fully reconciled and are expecting their third child later this month.

Defence agent Gregor Kelly told sheriff Philip Mann that Johnson had been paying back the DWP at a weekly rate of £35.

Mr Kelly added there was “no advantage” in subjecting Johnson to a period of imprisonment.

The court also heard that Johnson was entitled to all but £981 of the £4,195 in income support she was awarded.

Sheriff Philip Mann said the unpaid work could be carried out within one year.

“The reason the court takes a serious view of this is that you are depriving other people, potentially, of funds. You have a duty when availing yourself of these benefits to know what the rules are. I can well understand how people can be misguided and misinformed and mis-advised – that’s partly the situation here – but nonetheless the onus is on you, and you have got to pay the penalty for that.”

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