A businessman was jailed earlier this year after falsely registering 26 babies to claim over £34,000
in benefits fraudulently.
Rory McWhirter formerly lived in Dundee with his girlfriend before this sophisticated fraud scam
began, while she was previously considered to be included in this fraud, all charges against her
have now been dropped.
McWhirter, of Edinburgh, created fake birth certifications to claim Child benefit, tax credits and
maternity grants offered by the government. His job at the time saw him earn around £80,000 per
The scam was completed by falsely advertising jobs online for a hotel in Glasgow, before using
the details provided, and the information of other couples, to gain access to copies of marriage
certificates. He then forged the letters to register the ‘children’ claiming that they had all been
born via a home birth.
The total amount of false registrations came to 22, with 26 fake children being fabricated to
receive the available benefits.
McWhirter’s plan was foiled when a registrar realised that he had been using different names on
these applications. The Dundee Sheriff Court claimed this to be a particularly “sophisticated
fraudulent scheme”, however it quickly began to unravel when he made a repeat appearance at a
registrars office in Aberdeen.
On Tuesday, McWhirter was jailed for two years and four months at Dundee Sheriff Court after his
“sophisticated fraudulent scheme” unravelled.
John McLeod, the defending solicitor in McWhirter’s case, claimed that “The money was not
coming in in one fantastic windfall – it was all dribs and drabs. This is reasonably described as a
benefit fraud – but it is far from the ordinary of that type of crime.”
It is reported that a number of the names used to make the claims were contacted prior to
McWhirter’s arrest, all of who confirmed that they had no involvement in making the claims. They
had applied for one specific job role, however, which was formerly advertised on the popular site,
Gumtree, in 2015 which required a CV and national insurance number.
The defendant was traced through the use of his car, and once confronted admitted to suffering
from significant financial difficulty. A search to his property found a large amount of bank cards,
approximately 50 birth certificates from the Republic of Ireland, and computing equipment were
seized as evidence.
“He has had two failed businesses” McLeod continued, “first a bar that was swiftly run into the
ground and the property company. He felt he couldn’t go back to his family – who are successful –
for a second bail out so came up with this scheme …it is hardly Machiavellian and it came
unstuck because he was foolish enough to go in to the same registrar’s office several times.”
The total amount of benefits claimed by McWhirter amounted to £14,222.48 in tax credits, child
benefits of £19,658.70 and a Sure Start maternity grant of £500 – a total of £34,381.18.
The 29-year old pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of fraud committed between June 1,
2014, and October 22, 2015, at addresses across Scotland.
The defendant was charged with 28 months imprisonment by Sheriff Alistair Carmichael, who
concluded the case by stating that this was, “an attack on the public purse, on the integrity of the
system of births, deaths and marriages and also an attack on the system of working tax credits,
child benefit and maternity grants … putting that all together there is no alternative to custody.”