A WOMAN was jailed for nine months yesterday for scamming £32,000 in benefits by claiming she was a single mother when she was in fact married.
Margaret Grieve, 53, was caught after benefits investigators read a Facebook message congratulating her on her wedding anniversary, Dundee Sheriff Court heard.
She claimed Working Tax and Child Tax credits over three years, claiming she had separated from her husband, Frederick Grieve.
Grieve, who works for NHS Tayside at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, claimed she was living alone with her children.
In fact, her husband was still living with her, and they were sharing household expenses.
Department for Work and Pensions investigators found Grieve’s Facebook page had a profile picture of the couple attending a ball in 2011.
A friend had posted on the page to wish her a happy anniversary – with Grieve replying to say thanks.
In an attempt to stay out of jail her lawyer said she would pay back the cash at £120 a month, over about 20 years, but this was rejected.
Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told the court both Grieve and her husband had claimed they had split in 2002 when confronted. She said: “As a result of intelligence received by DWP an investigation into the accused and her lifestyle commenced.On her Facebook page, set up in 2010, she stated she had been married to him since 1990 and her profile picture featured them together. In 2011 a friend wished the accused a happy wedding anniversary and the accused replied with her thanks.”
Grieve, 53, of Finella Terrace, Dundee, pleaded guilty to a charge under the Tax Credits Act committed between 6 April 6, 2008, and 6 April 201.
Defence solicitor David Sinclair said: “If she receives a custodial sentence she will lose her job.”
But Sheriff Tom Hughes jailed Grieve for nine months, reduced from 12 for her early guilty plea. He said: “The difficulty that you face is that this was not a one-off incident.
“It was a course of action over a number of years and a considerable amount of money was involved.”