Fraudster lied to claim £30k

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A BENEFIT fraudster who lied about being a single parent claimed more than £30,000 over a 20-year period, a court heard.

Sharon Jowett, 45, was given a suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to five offences of fraud at Leeds Crown Court.

Louise Wilkinson, prosecuting, said Jowett, of Broom Terrace, Belle Isle, Leeds, made dishonest claims for benefits between 1993 and 2013.

The court heard the mother-of-one told authorities she was a single parent despite living with a partner throughout much of the period of offending.

She made a total of 12 false claims about her status in order to obtain benefits totalling £32,738.

Jowett was interviewed when the offending came to light and initially denied any wrongdoing.

She claimed her partner was not living with her as he was homeless and she only allowed him to use her address to receive mail. She later pleaded guilty to the offences.

Adam Birkby, mitigating, said Jowett had no other convictions. Mr Birkby said Jowett and her partner had now agreed on a repayment plan to return the money. He said it is expected to take them around 18 years to repay it.

Jowett was given a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

She was also made the subject of a 12 month supervision requirement and a four month curfew.