A Ballasalla benefit fraudster, who claimed more than £7,000 she wasn’t entitled to, has been sentenced to community service and probation.

The 31-year-old pleaded guilty to four counts of benefit fraud, totaling £7,039.46.

The court heard that Gilman has started paying back the overpayment, at a rate of £20 per week, and has so far paid £400.

Deputy High Bailiff Rachael Braidwood sentenced Gilman to 12 months’ probation and 100 hours’ community service.

We previously reported that Gilman had been claiming Income Support and Job Seekers Allowance (JSA).

On September 22 last year, an anonymous allegation was made that she was not living at her stated address, at Clagh Vane in Ballasalla.

Checks were made and a report said that no-one appeared to be living at the address.

Investigators obtained bank statements which showed Gilman had been receiving money from both a taxi company and a gymnastics club, which she had not declared.

Access was also gained to her energy supply details for the property and this appeared to have reduced greatly after January 2023.

Gilman was interviewed by the Department of Health and Social Security and claimed that she had only worked a few hours a week for the taxi company and been paid £40 weekly.

She said that it cost her £20 to fill up the cab but claimed that she always declared the money.

Regarding the money going into her account, she said that this had been benefit payments which she had collected, then paid into her account.

When quizzed about the gymnastics payments, Gilman said she only did volunteer work for them, but had received some payment for judging a competition.

Asked about the address, she said that she had been living at her mother’s house because a toilet had flooded, and she had reported it but the department had not sorted it out.

However, investigations found that this had been reported and fixed over three years ago, in 2020.

As the interview was ending, Gilman admitted that the payments from the island gymnastics centre were not for competitions.

The prosecution submitted that the benefit claim had been fraudulent from the outset and had resulted in overpayments of £1,672.92 in Income Support and £5,366.54 in JSA, a total of £7,039.46.

The court heard that the defendant has a previous similar conviction in 2016.

Defence advocate Paul Rodgers said that Gilman had moved to her mother’s home after the flood at her council property, but accepted that she should have advised the benefits office straight away.

Mr Rodgers said that a lot of the money had been used to repair the house as it had been uninhabitable.

The advocate said that it was not easy to make a living as a taxi driver these days, and that Gilman was not currently working due to being signed off with anxiety, and was back on benefits.

He said that this may also make it difficult for her to do community service.

Mr Rodgers said that, perhaps the best mitigation for his client, was that she had already begun paying back the overpayment.

Referring to the previous conviction in 2016, Deputy High Bailiff Ms Braidwood told Gilman: ‘You would know better than most of the obligations placed upon you.’

The defendant was also ordered to pay £50 prosecution costs, which she will pay at a rate of £5 per week, deducted from benefits.