Fife mum jailed for £89,000 benefits scam after repeatedly claiming she had split from husband

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A Fife mother has been jailed for a benefits scam which gained her almost £90,000.

The fraud carried out by Toni Claughan, 48, of Burnside Crescent, Rosyth, lasted for more than five years.

She repeatedly made claims stating she had split up from her husband.

That remained her position during a trial at Dunfermline Sheriff Court but a jury did not believe her and found her guilty.

Claughan had denied that on various occasions between February 14 2011 and December 26 2016, she pretended to HM Revenue and Customs that she lived alone, except for dependent children.

The truth was she was living with and deriving financial benefit from Michael Claughan, who was in paid employment.

She thus induced HMRC to pay her £89,915 in working tax credit and child tax credit, obtaining this amount by fraud.

Defence solicitor Janine Bates said her client had paid back £1,200 of the sum involved over the past two years.

She added Claughan had lost her job at Asda as a result of the conviction.

Sheriff Charles MacNair jailed Claughan for 18 months.

She also faces having to sell her home to pay back the money as the Crown is bringing a confiscation order against her under proceeds of crime legislation.