A FLINTSHIRE woman falsely claimed £42,000 in benefits by failing to tell the authorities her husband was living with her.
Dawn Williams, 58, at the time of Blackbrooke Avenue, Hawarden, also failed to notify the authorities of a £10,000 inheritance.
Williams admitted three counts of failing to notify the authorities of a change in her circumstances and received a suspended prison sentence.
Christopher Moss, prosecuting, said Williams’ indiscretion was discovered during an investigation by the benefits section of Flintshire Council and Department of Work and Pensions, who suspected her husband was living at home at the time she was claiming income support and council tax benefit.
Mold Crown Court heard her husband actually used her address to apply for a passport.
Throughout the period of her claim she had said she was living alone at the property, said Mr Moss, when in fact Kevin Williams had lived there throughout.
The period of the false claim dated back to August, 2008 – a total of three years and eight months.
Mr Moss said Mr Williams had used the Hawarden address to apply for credit, he paid utility bills and the TV licence was registered in his name to the home address.
He had even applied for a passport using the address.
Mr Williams was in paid work, was receiving a “significant” pension from British Steel and was contributing to household bills, Mr Moss said.
During the period of three years and eight months his wife had received just over £42,000 in benefits.
The Department of Works and Pensions was reclaiming the overpaid amount at a rate of £103 a week, said Mr Moss.
Elen Owen, defending, said Mrs Williams, who appeared in court using a walking stick, had very real and genuine medical problems and was in a huge amount of pain at all times.
“She has produced a letter this morning indicating she has to go to hospital tomorrow morning for an operation for a complete knee replacement which has had to be brought forward because of the inflamed nature of the joint,” she said.
“She is remorseful and had no intention to deceive. She had a head in the sand attitude to what was clearly an obvious problem.”
Previous medical reports made no mention of her husband living with her and that her support came from family, said Ms Owen.
Judge Peter Heywood said: “I could not be criticised for passing an immediate custodial sentence but clearly there are significant medical issues and what would it achieve? There is a significant prospect of a large amount being paid back.”
Williams was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months.