A LITHUANIAN social worker who cheated taxpayers out of £9,000 is set to be struck off.
35-year-old Paule Meskauskiene, who lives in Aviemore, tricked Highland Council into handing over £9,215 in housing benefits while she worked as a senior support worker.
The fraudster, originally from Siauliai in Lithuania, received an average of £330 a month from taxpayers between 2008 and 2010 – none of which she was entitled to.
During this time she worked for Sense Scotland – a charity which provides services for the disabled.
She was caught out and pled guilty to benefit fraud in 2011 – though she failed to mention this to her employers.
At the time of the trial she was working for The Richmond Fellowship Scotland and Applied Care and Development – both of which provide care for those suffering from mental health illnesses, learning disabilities, dementia and alcohol issues.
She faces several charges in front of Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) including that between 8 April 2011 and 22 September 2011 she failed to “notify the council that she was subject to criminal proceedings and had pled guilty to obtaining £9,215.04 of benefits to which she was not entitled.”
She did not inform either of her employers that she had been prosecuted, and even applied for the position of child care worker without any mention of the scam.
Miss Meskauskiene’s social media page reveals that she studied social work at university in Lithuania, before moving to Scotland in 2002 to pursue a career.
Pictures uploaded in 2008 – during the time she was receiving the benefits – show her preparing food in her well-kept kitchen, playing with her children in the homely living room and sitting down for a meal at a large dining table.
She can also be seen grinning at the camera while enjoying cocktails with friends, and baking cookies with her son and daughter.
A Google street view of the house shows a smart, semi-detached two storey property in a quiet cul-de-sac, located in the Cairngorms National Park.
Miss Meskauskiene will appear before the SSSC in Dundee next week, where she may be struck off the social workers register for her failure to declare the fraud.
The six charges amount to dishonest representation for obtaining benefit, and dishonesty in failing to inform her employers of her situation and the criminal proceedings.
Between 2012 and 2013, £16m worth of benefit fraud and errors were reported by Audit Scotland.
One fraudster claimed £70,000 of housing benefit while their partner was working.
During the same time, some 1,862 housing benefit payments were stopped or reduced, leading to 92 prosecutions
Miss Meskauskiene could not be contacted for comment.