Preston DWP employee fraudulently awarded himself £12,000 in Universal Credit

A benefits worker has admitted defrauding the public purse while working as a Universal Credit service agent.

Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 2:10 pm

Stuart Robertson, of Ripon Street, Plungington, Preston, committed the frauds over a period between May and July 2019, during which he made advance payments of the benefit to himself.

The 34-year-old indicated guilty pleas to five counts of fraud by dishonestly abusing his position, during a hearing before Preston Magistrates’ Court.

The charges amount to a total of £12,007.

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Sessions House

The bench committed his case to be sentenced at the higher court, and he appeared before the Honorary Recorder of Preston, Judge Robert Altham, at Sessions House.

The prosecutor said: “ In summary the prosecution say he abused his position as an employee of the DWP using their payments system to make false claims and authorise advance payments to himself of just over 12k.

“He was employed as an administration officer from January 14, 2019, based in Preston.

“His role was to deal with new claims and changes, and to deal with questions from claimants.”

The court heard Robertson had access to the DWP’s computer system but it would leave a digital fingerprint.

In turn, that could be traced by auditors.

Robertson created a fraudulent claim for himself, stating that he was an unemployed single person with no dependants.

He signed a form electronically, giving an address in Grafton Street, Preston.

He was paid Universal Credit monthly into his bank account.

He was jailed for 10 months.

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