Man registered 26 non-existent babies

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Rory McWhirterImage source, Alan Richardson
Image caption,
Rory McWhirter fraudulently claimed more than £34,000

A businessman travelled around Scotland to register the births of 26 non-existent babies as part of a benefit fraud scheme, a court has heard.

Rory McWhirter has admitted collecting identity details from people he had deceived into applying for fake jobs at a Glasgow hotel.

He used the details to obtain their marriage certificates before using them to register the fake births.

McWhirter, 29, then used the birth certificates to claim benefits.

He claimed tax credits amounting to £14,222, child benefits of £19,658 and a Sure Start maternity grant of £500.

'Organised attack'

McWhirter, from Edinburgh, will be sentenced on 21 March.

Dundee Sheriff Court was told that McWhirter was caught after returning to the scene of one of his early false birth registrations at Aberdeen registry office where he was recognised by staff.

Around the same time, an "organised attack" on HMRC's computer systems - which showed that about 350 requests had been received for tax credit application forms from an address in Dundee and others in Campbeltown linked to McWhirter - triggered other alarms.

Depute fiscal Vicki Bell told the court that McWhirter presented letters to registrars at various offices throughout Scotland purporting to be from doctors confirming the births of children at home.

During the meetings he acted as if he was the male named on the marriage certificate while registering the birth, the court was told.

False registrations

Miss Bell said: "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 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."

After being traced, McWhirter said he considered the registration system in Scotland "archaic and easy to create false registrations."

McWhirter admitted a charge of fraud committed between 1 June 2014 and 22 October 2015 at addresses across Scotland.

His solicitor John McLeod told the court his client was under no illusion that imprisonment was likely to be "at the top of the list".

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