A “DESPICABLE” benefits cheat claimed payments for two children that did not exist, a court heard.
Susan Finney also claimed for a third child who was not eligible.
She gave benefits officials a lower wage figure than she was actually earning and failed to declare that she had a partner. In fact, her benefits claim was false from the start, Mold Crown Court was told.
Finney, 39, of Heol Bathafarn, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, had been overpaid £30,800 but it was conceded that if she had been honest she would have been entitled to about £11,000 – which meant that the actual loss to the public purse was about £19,000, Frances Willmott, prosecuting, said.
Finney admitted making false representation but escaped immediate custody.
She received an eight month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and was ordered to carry out 300 hours unpaid work.
Judge Niclas Parry said that the reason the sentence was being suspended was that she was in work and was able to continue to pay back the overpayment to the public.
Mr Parry said that it was the fourth time in eight years that she had appeared before the court for dishonesty offences. They all involved false representations for financial gain.
She had a previous conviction for benefit fraud and was on a suspended sentence when some of the present offences occurred.
Mr Parry said the claim was fraudulent from the outset and she failed to declare that she had a partner, claimed for a child who was not eligible, she “despicably” claimed for two children that did not exist, and also declared false earnings.
Paul Smith, defending, said his client had overcome alcohol and other issues in her life.
She worked as a carer for people with dementia and was well thought of.
It was accepted that she had been entirely dishonest but she had made positive changes to her life.
The bill just short of £20,000 was payable by a working woman and she was already making repayments.
He asked the court to show her leniency.