A WOMAN who illegally claimed almost £50,000 in benefits has been given a suspended prison sentence.
A court heard Pamela Hotson, 49, carried out the deception over a six year period by failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions and her local authority that her husband had returned to live with her.
During that period Hotson, of Churchbalk Lane, Pontefract, claimed £25,776 in income support benefit, housing benefit of £18, 696 and council tax benefit of £5,063.
Leeds Crown Court heard Hotson’s initial benefits claims were genuine after her husband Paul left the family home in 1998.
David Gordon, prosecuting, said Hotson failed to inform authorities when her husband returned to live at the family home and their finances had become “intertwined”.
Evidence was found of the couple having a joint bank account and Mr Hotson gave his partner’s address to employers, loan companies and the DVLA.
Mr Gordon said: “Had the DWP been aware of the true facts then benefits would have been withdrawn for between five and six years.”
Hotson was arrested and initially denied acting dishonestly, claiming her husband had his own home in the Featherstone area. She later pleaded guilty to two offences of failing to notify a change of circumstances.
Michael Smith, mitigating, said Hotson looked after her grandchildren and they would suffer if she was sent immediately to prison.
Judge Penelope Belcher gave Hotson a six month suspended sentence. She said: “You do not think you have done anything wrong. From where I’m standing you undoubtedly have.”