£28,000 benefits cheat from Sedgley ordered to carry out unpaid work
A benefits cheat fraudulently claimed nearly £30,000 in three years, a court heard.
Samantha Turner netted a total of £28,465.39 in Jobseeker's Allowance, housing benefit, council tax benefit and income support between November 2012 and January 2016.
Mother of four Turner, of Downfield Drive, Sedgley, told authorities her husband had moved out and she was the sole earner in the household, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.
She had said her husband was living with his father during the period – but when quizzed by investigators Turner's father-in-law said he had lived alone for more than a decade.
Turner's deceit was finally uncovered last year, but only after she had already stopped fraudulently claiming, the court heard.
Mr Richard Davenport, prosecuting, said: "She was in receipt of all these benefits on the understanding she was living as a single person with four children and no other income.
"The benefits were paid automatically to her bank account on the understanding that if there was a change in her circumstances she would notify the Department for Work and Pensions."
Turner, 33, had claimed her husband had moved out of their family home and was living in Tipton with his father, Mr Davenport said.
However, when DWP investigators spoke to Turner's father-in-law, he said he had 'lived on his own for 12 years'.
Mr Davenport added: "These offences came to light in 2016 after intelligence information was received, but after she had ceased to claim."
Turner had claimed her relationship with her husband 'was volatile and he often left for long periods of time', which meant she 'couldn't rely on him financially and claimed benefits as a safety net', he said.
Miss Kam Shergill, defending, said: "Miss Turner is 33 and of previous good character.
"She is a single mother of four children – ranging from 13 down to seven.
"The burden of care is entirely her responsibility."
Recorder Paul Bleasdale QC ordered Turner to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.
She pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud by false representation at an earlier hearing.
Recorder Bleasdale QC said: "You are a single mother of four children.
"You had stopped claiming benefits before these matters were found and have admitted your responsibility."