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Man registers 26 non-existent babies to claim £34,000

Rory McWhirter faked births to claim tax credits, child benefits and maternity grants.

Court: McWhirter pleaded guilty to fraud (file pic).
Court: McWhirter pleaded guilty to fraud (file pic). PA

A businessman registered the births of 26 non-existent babies using fake birth certificates to fraudulently claim £34,000 in benefits.

Rory McWhirter convinced people to apply for jobs at a Glasgow hotel and used their details to get their marriage certificates.

McWhirter then registered fake births using the documents and claimed tax credits, child benefits and maternity grants.

He was only caught after he was recognised by staff during a return visit to a registry office in Aberdeen.

Around the same time, 350 requests received by HMRC for tax credits application forms from an address in Dundee and others in Campbelltown linked to McWhirter triggered other alarms.

It was McWhirter's BMW Z4 convertible that he used to travel to registrar offices across Scotland that eventually led police to his door.

On May 22, 2015, in Aberdeen, he registered two children's names and the following day at the same office he attempted to buy a copy of a marriage certificate for his brother Lockhart Brown, claiming his name was Luke Brown.

The registrar who had registered the births for him recognised the 29-year-old and heard him provide this name.

Fiscal depute Vicki Bell told Dundee Sheriff Court on Tuesday: "Four of the names used as claimants were traced and they advised they didn't make the claims.

"They had all, however, applied for the same job for front of house staff at a four-star hotel in Glasgow advertised on Gumtree on March 2015. The ad required a CV and a national insurance number.

"It transpired their details had been used to fraudulently claim tax credits.

"It was then discovered that 14 claims for tax credits had been made by persons residing in Perth Road, Dundee, and in Campbeltown at flats related to the accused's company."

She continued: "In total, the accused registered 22 false births for 26 children. During one he referred to problems with a home birthing pool and said his wife was a paediatric doctor.

"When he attended at Edinburgh registrars in June 2015 to register a birth he was seen using a silver or grey BMW car with a private plate.

"The motor car referred to led police to an address in Perth Road, Dundee, where the former co-accused opened the door."

Ms Bell added: "He provided full admissions stating he was in severe financial difficulty and needed money.

"He stated he considered the registration system in Scotland to be archaic and easy to create false registrations. His purpose had been to claim benefits pertaining to the child.

"During the search a large quantity of bank cards, computer equipment and approximately 50 birth certificates from the Republic of Ireland and documentation relating to claiming benefits were seized."

McWhirter, of Douglas Crescent, Edinburgh, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of fraud committed between June 1, 2014, and October 22, 2015, at addresses across Scotland.

He claimed tax credits amounting to £14,222.48, child benefits of £19,658.70, and a Sure Start maternity grant of £500, at a total of £34,381.18.

McWhirter's solicitor John McLeod told the court his client was pleading guilty to the offence and was under no illusion that imprisonment was likely to be "at the top of the list".

Sheriff Carmichael granted bail and called for social work background reports. Sentence was deferred until March 21.

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