Dundee mum caught in £20k benefits scam after posting holiday snaps online

A mother-of-two who made £20,000 worth of bogus child tax credit claims was caught after posting photographs on Facebook of her family holidays.

Joanna Pawlicka claimed she was a single mother as she spent more than five years claiming benefits she was not entitled to, a court heard.

An investigation was launched after the benefits agency was given a tip-off that Pawlicka was living with her husband Dawid Borucki and he was working full-time.

When they were quizzed, Mr Borucki claimed they were no longer living as a married couple and that he was mainly living in his van throughout the claim period.

He said he would sometimes return to the house to give his wife his dirty washing and did not consider their period together in London to be family holidays.

Pawlicka, who admitted falsely claiming a reduced figure of £20,000 after initially being charged in relation to more than £52,000, had sentence deferred for reports today at Dundee Sheriff Court.

Pawlicka leaving Dundee Sheriff Court on Monday.

Pawlicka, 35,, Leith Walk, Dundee, admitted being knowingly concerned in fraudulently obtaining Child Tax Credits between 6 April 2013 and 8 August 2018 at the city’s Fintry Road. She claimed to be living as a single mother when she was living with her husband de ella.

Prosecutor depute Marie Lyons told the court: “The accused claimed child tax credits after she reported separating from her partner in 2011. She reported living alone with two daughters.”

Mrs Lyons said HMRC began investigating and discovered that Mr Borucki had continued to list his wife as next-of-kin and used the family home as his address.

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“The accused was receiving his wages into her bank account and used it to pay the bills and expenses.

“Had she reported her partner to be still living with her she would no longer have been entitled to benefits.

“The DWP received information he was living with her as husband and wife. He confirmed they married in 2009.

“He said they tried numerous times to reconcile but it never worked out.

“He said he occasionally stayed a couple of nights or weeks but it was volatile and they fell out. He confirmed his wages would go to his bank account and then she would give him his wages.

Dundee Sheriff Court
Dundee Sheriff Court.

“He said he kept his clothes in his work van. She would offer to wash the clothes and he would have meals with her and the girls. His mobile phone was in her name.

“There were a lot of family photos, including together in London. Despite all the evidence produced, he continued to deny they were living together as husband and wife.

“It was pointed out that this appeared to be their normal way of life. They were together the majority of the time.”

Solicitor Annika Jethwa, defending, said: “Unfortunately he had a heroin addiction for about ten years and there were a number of domestic incidents.

“He continued to live at her address and put money into her account. He would be thrown out and she was in the wrong because she did not alert the department about the change. She accepts wrongdoing.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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