Civil servant is spared jail after £4,200 benefit scam
A former social security office worker who admitted swindling thousands of pounds in benefits has walked free from court.
Veronica Norton (45) conned the taxpayer out of £4,244 over six months while working at the Coleraine benefits office in 2011.
The mum-of-two, of Craiglea Gardens in Kilrea but now living at Belmont Park in nearby Rasharkin, concocted an "elaborate" scam by arranging for benefits to be paid to people she knew who would then give her the cash.
Norton told investigators she was not "thinking straight" when she stole the money. She added she had split with her husband, was in financial difficulties and had resorted to payday loans.
After she pleaded guilty to theft, a judge at Coleraine Magistrates Court sentenced her to six months' jail, suspended for three years, and ordered her to "pay back every penny".
Norton's solicitor said she had written to her bosses to apologise and to say she would pay the money back at £7.50 per week.