A woman who fraudulently claimed more than £12,000 in benefits over a two year period has avoided an immediate jail sentence.
Elizabeth Stowers (37) of Figtree Walk, Peterborough, claimed thousands in housing and council tax benefit between 7 October, 2011 and 30 October, 2013.
She told authorities she was living alone - but it was later revealed she was living with her partner.
Paul Brown, prosecuting, told Peterborough Magistrates Court that in total Stowers had been overpaid £12,971.69, although she had started to repay some of the money she owes as a result of the frauds back to Peterborough City Council.
Stowers had pleaded guilty to three counts of dishonestly making a false statement to obtain a benefit/advantage/payment at a previous hearing at the court, and the sentencing had been adjourned until Monday for reports to be carried out.
Mr Brown said when investigations were carried out Stowers’ partner had registered as living at the house with his work and with the NHS.
Defending, Jeremy Roberts said: “She has pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
“The claim was not fraudulent from the outset.”
Sentencing, District Judge Ken Sheraton said: “These offences are serious, because of the nature of the fraud, the period of time it took place over, and the amount of money you took.”
Stowers was given a 16 week jail sentence, suspended for 18 months on each of the three counts, to be served concurrently.
She was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, and pay court costs of £250 and a victim surcharge of £80.