A WOMAN who falsely claimed £12,000 in benefits has been handed a suspended prison sentence.
Fiona Marie Robinson, 35, of Stucley Road, Bideford, pleaded guilty to three charges of failing to notify the authorities that her children were no longer living with her and that she had started working.
The first charge relates to failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions that her children were no longer living with her while claiming income support between November 2011 and June 2013.
The others are in relation to dishonestly claiming council tax benefit between November 2011 and March 2013 and housing benefit between November 2011 and July 2013.
Leader of the Torridge District Council Philip Collins said: “Three prosecutions in recent months gives us no pleasure. But we have a duty to protect the public purse and to prosecute fraudulent benefit claims. As recently proved, our fraud team are there to catch those people who cheat the rest of society by fraudulently claiming.”
Presiding magistrate Judith Killen handed Robinson a six week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, with the requirement of a six month probation order that she attends up to eight sessions of an Engage Women programme. She was also told to pay a victim surcharge of £80 and court costs of £85.