A 72-year-old benefits cheat who falsely claimed more than £22,400 was caught after being spotted walking her dog up to four times a day.
Patricia Kowalewski claimed disability living allowance between March 24 2010 and September 27 2016, stating she wasn’t able to carry out certain everyday tasks.
But the Department of Work and Pensions received an anonymous tip-off before investigators carried out surveillance.
Fiscal depute Anna Chisholm said: “She claimed that her needs were greater than they actually were.
“This first came to light when an anonymous allegation came to the DWP as to the accused’s ability to walk the dog… up to four times a day.”
Investigators watched Kowalewski on eight occasions also spotting her walking with no aid, at a “normal pace”, opening and closing garage doors with no difficulty and picking up shopping from her car.
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Ms Chisholm said Kowalewski had claimed a total of £44,929.50 over the same period but accepted she “would have been entitled to some of the disability allowance”.
Kowalewski appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court for sentencing having previously pled guilty.
Defence agent Gregor Kelly said: “It’s a matter of great shame to her that she finds herself facing a criminal process so late in life.”
He said Kowalewski suffered from back problems and chronic pain and had good days and bad days, adding: “It could be argued it’s a partial fraud.”
He said she had been paying money back at £200 per month.
Sheriff Graham Buchanan said: “Plainly this is a serious offence because of the amount of money which you obtained from the state to which you were not entitled.”
He ordered Kowalewski, of Concraig Park, Kingswells, to carry out 270 hours of unpaid work.
A DWP spokeswoman said: “Only a small minority of benefit claimants are dishonest, but cases like these show how we are catching the minority who cheat the system and divert taxpayers’ money from those who need it.
“We are determined to catch those we suspect of fraudulently claiming benefits by following up on tip-offs, undertaking surveillance and working with local councils.”