Man Invents 26 Fake Babies in Benefits Scam

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A man in Scotland traveled around stealing people’s identities and registering fake home-birthed babies in an elaborate benefits scam to trick the government into paying him benefits for children that didn’t exist, and he registered 26 different kids before he got caught.

According to the BBC, 29-year-old Rory McWhirter, reportedly a businessman with a real estate company, had secretly been running a long, convoluted scam in which he stole people’s identities, then claimed those people had had babies so he could claim benefits for them.

To get the identities to steal, McWhirter reportedly ran online ads for front desk positions at a fictional hotel. The job application required a resume and a national insurance number, which McWhirter then used to get copies of their marriage certificates. Then he’d take the marriage certificates to local registrars and claim to be the husband in question, and say he was looking to register the birth of a child. He brought real marriage certificates and forged birth letters from fake doctors saying that they had delivered babies at home. Usually they were twins, because if you’re going to make up a fake baby for benefits, why not make up two?

Once he had the birth certificates, he’d register for childcare benefits and tax breaks under various different names.

According to The Sun, he set up different bank accounts for the various fake babies and got about $24,000 in child benefits and over $17,000 in tax credits for 26 fake babies. He even got about $625 for a maternity grant.

It’s bewildering that McWhirter was able to pull all that without anyone catching him. Eventually he was caught when a human registrar recognized him as someone she had seen before, using a different name. Once she reported that, the whole thing quickly came apart. McWhirter said he was able to get away with it because the Scottish registrar system was “archaic” and easily manipulated.

When investigators tracked down four of the people reportedly getting benefits delivered to one of McWhirter’s addresses, they said they were not in fact receiving benefits at all, but they had all applied for jobs through McWhirter’s fake ad.

McWhirter eventually pleaded guilty in court, but he has not yet been sentenced. His lawyer says they just sort of assume jail time is imminent.