Sympathy for fraud accused
Six month behaviour bond will help woman settle her life
A SHERIFF has taken a sympathetic line with a benefits cheat after hearing about her troubled and tragic life.
Sharon Moore, 49, lost her partner, her mother and her father within a four years period and although she inherited substantial sums of money, the new friends she made, disappeared after the cash ran out and she was diagnosed with depression.
Moore was living at 17 St Clair Avenue, in Thurso, at the time of the offence between 2012 and 2015 but had since relocated to Auldton Terrace, Ashgill, Larkhall, with a new partner, Wick Sheriff Court was told.
Fiscal Fraser Matheson said that the accused received £19,385 in employment support allowances but failed to disclose she had capital in excess of the permitted capital of £16,000 and also didn't declare a pension.
Social worker Alan Easton outlined what he described as "a sad story" and appealed to Sheriff Andrew Berry to consider admonishing Moore who pleaded guilty. She had lost her husband in 2010, three years later her mother died and the following year her husband passed away.
Moore received a total of £95,000 from their estates but Mr Easton commented: "People came to her aid but they went away almost as quickly as the money disappeared,.
Solicitor Fiona MacDonald said that Moore's life was "in a mess". She had no money and was paying off the benefit through regular payments of £138.
Sheriff Andrew Berry said that he would continue the case for six months to "allow the accused a settled period in her life" and also to demonstrate she could stay out of trouble.