A mother-of-three who fraudulently claimed more than £40,000 in benefits has escaped an immediate jail sentence.
Donna Jones illegally claimed income support for more than three years after telling the Department for Work and Pensions she was a single parent when she was living with her partner.
Benjamin Close, prosecuting, said that Jones initially made a lawful benefits claim and should have informed the authorities when her partner moved in with her in December 2009.
Mr Close said “Her claim was on the basis that she was a single parent with children. The claim became fraudulent in December 2009 due to the fact that she was living from that time with her partner.
“She was interviewed in February of last year and accepted that her claim was not correct.”
Jones, 49, of Lincoln Street, Stamford, admitted dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances to the Department for Work and Pensions between December 19, 2009 and February 7, 2013.
She was given a five month jail sentence suspended for 18 months with 300 hours of unpaid work. She will also repay the money on a monthly basis.
Judge Sean Morris told her during the hearing today (Monday) at Lincoln Crown Court: “It is only because of your children that you are walking out of this court.
“You deserve to be locked up but I am going to suspend the sentence because of those children. You should hang your head in shame.”
Chris Milligan, defending, said Jones had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and had no previous convictions.
He added: “Someone else has benefited over that three year period and he has walked away.
“He was a poor partner and a poor father to the children. On various occasions he would have affairs and he would walk out from time to time and leave her without money.”